I’m so excited to share this charming find I stumbled across a few weeks ago.
It’s called The Anne of Green Gables Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Eriksson, published in 1991 by Viking Press with the permission of Ruth and David Macdonald, the heirs of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Curiously, the illustration credit is to Pronks&Associates and not an individual illustrator — a shame.
The two authors shared a love of the Anne books, and when they read them to their daughters, the little girls kept asking questions about Anne’s world. What would’ve Anne had for breakfast? Did Marilla have a refrigerator? What was it like to go to school in a one-room schoolhouse? So, they began to casually do research to find the answers. In their own words:
What we thought would be a few pleasant mornings spent in our branch library became a five-year obsession!
They began to become more deeply interested in what life would’ve been like in Avonlea from 1866 (Anne’s birth) to 1919 (the last year recorded in the last book in the series). So they did painstaking research and share their findings in this book.
The book itself is lovely. Very girly. Full of great illustrations like the one below. (Illustrators never want to depict Anne in her yellow wincey dress. For some reason, we always put her in gray or blue.
They divide the book into the spheres of life that played a major role in Anne’s life:
There’s a chapter on school. (Anne is certainly the only ginger in class.)
And there’s a chapter all about tea — full of fantastic information about the different types of tea services (informal versus formal) and there are tons of recipes for sandwiches, biscuits, cakes, cookies, and tarts.
There is also a chapter on fashion and what girls and ladies wore during the time period and how they made their own clothing.
I love this one of Anne going to pieces over the puff sleeves.
There is even a section devoted to crafts! Although we know that Anne never really got the knack for needlework or had the patience for small-motor activities.
They teach you how to make a rose bowl, potpourri sachets, bib aprons, baby bonnet, and pressed flowers. Yes, they’re very dated crafts, but they were all the rage at the time. There’s even a simple pattern for crochet lace.
What I found very interesting is that they include a ton of maps for the town of Avonlea and the surrounding area. We’ve got Prince Edward Island as a whole.
Then we zoom in on Green Gables farm.
And then we zoom in further on the floorplan of Green Gables itself.
They even include an interesting timeline that juxtaposes what’s going on in Anne’s world versus what’s going on in the world at large.
This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in learning more about Anne of Green Gables. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to call myself Cordelia for the rest of the day.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Are you more like Anne Shirley or her bosom friend Diana Barry?