Becoming Green Gables: The Diary of Myrtle Webb and Her Famous Farmhouse

By Alan MacEachern

Bookmark presents the launch of Alan MacEachern’s new book Becoming Green Gables: The Diary of Myrtle Webb and Her Famous Farmhouse on June 18 at 7 pm in the Schurman Market Square in McDougall Hall at UPEI. The event is sponsored by Bookmark and McGill-Queen’s University Press.

 In 1909 Myrtle and Ernest Webb took possession of an ordinary farm in Cavendish. Ordinary but for one thing: it was already becoming known as the inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, the novel written by Myrtle’s cousin Lucy Maud Montgomery. The Webbs welcomed visitors to “Green Gables,” making their home the heart of PEI’s tourist trade. In the 1930s the farm became the centrepiece of a new National Park, but the family continued to live there for another decade.  Myrtle kept a diary from 1924, when she was a 40-year-old homemaker running a household of eight, until 1954, when she was no longer a resident in what was now the most famous house in Canada.

Becoming Green Gables tells the story of Myrtle Webb and her family, and the making of Green Gables. MacEachern reproduces a selection of the diary’s daily entries, using them as springboards to explore topics ranging from the adoption of modern conveniences to the home front hosting of soldiers in wartime and visits from “Aunt Maud” herself. While the foundation of the book is the Webbs’ own story, it is also a history of their famous home, their community, the nation, and the world in which they lived.

MacEachern grew up on PEI. He is a professor of history at Western University, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a past Visiting Scholar of the L.M Montgomery Institute at UPEI, and an author of many Canadian environmental history books.