The year 1909 saw Myrtle and Ernest Webb take formal possession of an attractive, but ordinary farm property in Cavendish, PEI – and begin a long process of losing it. Their home was already being called an inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, published by Myrtle's cousin just a year earlier. The Webb home became entrenched as Green Gables, an association that would enrich and ultimately upend the family's life there.
Alan MacEachern is writing a book about the Webb family's almost four decades at Green Gables, basing it largely around a diary that Myrtle long kept. This diary is a wonderful social history snapshot of life in early-to-mid twentieth century rural Canada. At the same time, it is a chronicle of what is now the most famous house in Canada while it was in the process of becoming the most famous house in Canada.
For his keynote address, "The Webbs of Green Gables," MacEachern will examine the ways that the story of the Webbs of Green Gables deepens our understanding of the cultural history and meaning of L.M. Montgomery and her work.
Alan MacEachern is a Professor of History at the University of Western Ontario and the L.M. Montgomery Institute's Visiting Scholar for 2021-22. He is an environmental historian whose most recent works are The Miramichi Fire: A History (2020) and, with Edward MacDonald, The Summer Trade: A History of Tourism on Prince Edward Island (2022).