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L.M. Montgomery Postcards Donated to KindredSpaces

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The thirty-year friendship between L.M. Montgomery and Scottish writer, G.B. MacMillan has been well documented by Montgomery scholars. Montgomery dedicated one of her best known stories, Emily of New Moon, to the Scottish writer and the 1980 book, My Dear Mr. M: Letters to G.B. MacMillan, coauthored by Francis WP Bolger and Elizabeth Epperly, revealed the two corresponded through postcards. 

However, Epperly and Bolger didn’t know at the time that MacMillan had kept some of the correspondence! 

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Recently, MacMillan’s family discovered 70 postcards in an old album. MacMillan’s great-grand nephew initiated the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s acquisition of these exciting artifacts by contacting Kate MacDonald Butler who got in touch with the Institute. The LMMI’s goal is to digitize these postcards to be enjoyed by scholars and fans worldwide on KindredSpaces.

This exciting discovery was aided by a few key figures in the world of L.M. Montgomery studies:

Elizabeth Epperly is undoubtedly one of the most influential Montgomery scholars. Her work continues to inspire new avenues for Montgomery scholarship. Arguably, her involvement in this acquisition began long before the recent discovery of these postcards with her work with Rev. Bolger in 1992 and founding the L.M. Montgomery Institute in 1993.

Donna Campbell, of the Ryrie-Campbell Collection on Kindred Spaces, purchased the 70 postcards and presented them to the L.M. Montgomery Institute. Campbell has been donating her lifetime collection to the Institute in installments. The online collection currently houses over 700 titles. The LMMI is grateful to Donna Campbell for the invaluable contributions she has made, not only to the institution but to the Montgomery community. 

Simon Lloyd is University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at the UPEI Robertson Library and a great asset to all LMMI projects. He is working on digitizing the postcards so they can be accessed by all fans and scholars alike. Without his work on this project the postcards could not be made available to the public. 

Mary Beth Cavert, one of the 2020 L.M. Montgomery Institute Legacy Award recipients, has been an independent Montgomery scholar since the 1980s. She has spent a long time studying Montgomery’s book dedications, which led her to her study of the correspondence between Montgomery and MacMillan. She has undertaken the monumental task of transcribing, dating, and annotating the postcard correspondence of the two authors. Cavert has an upcoming paper on the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies that explores the relationship between Montgomery and MacMillan.    

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These postcards will help Montgomery scholars and readers piece together moments of Montgomery’s life that only months ago were educated guesses. They will provide concrete evidence of Montgomery’s written correspondence with friends and family, and allow us to see another side of Montgomery that does not always shine through her novels and journals. 

The best part of these postcards is that they give the community another reason to come together. All of us were looking forward to the biennial Montgomery Conference held on Prince Edward Island. While the 2020 conference was replaced with the exciting initiatives on the L.M. Montgomery and Vision Virtual Forum, these postcards provide another opportunity to celebrate our favourite author’s work. They are a sign that good things can still happen despite the bends in the road. 

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For more on this acquisition, read Epperly’s interview with CBCListen.