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"I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk-cabbage."
This article is about the daughter of Walter and Bertha Shirley. You may be looking for her daughter, Nan Blythe; her granddaughter, Anne Blythe; or the American actress Anne Shirley.

"Well now, I'd rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne. Just mind you that—rather than a dozen boys."
Matthew Cuthbert to Anne after she won the Avery scholarship at Queen's Academy[src]

Anne Blythe (née Shirley) was the orphan taken in by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the daughter of Walter and Bertha Shirley, a bosom friend of Diana Barry, a friend and eventually the wife of Gilbert Blythe, and the mother of Joyce, Jem, WalterNan, Di, Shirley, and Rilla Blythe.

Anne was adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert at Green Gables. At first, they thought that they were getting a boy, but Anne's endless chatter and her gorgeous charm won them over. Anne flourished and matured there, but after a tragedy at Green Gables, Anne was faced with a choice: stay with Marilla or go to Redmond. She decided to stay and became the Avonlea teacher. She was teacher for two years before she went to Redmond College and earned a B.A., rooming with her friends Philippa Blake, Stella Maynard, and Priscilla Grant, and Stella's Aunt Jamesina in a charming little house known as Patty's Place. During her engagement to Gilbert, she moved to Windy Poplars (Willows in the British and Australian version), rooming with Rebecca Dew and two widows, Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty, spending a very happy three years. When she married Gilbert, they moved to the House of Dreams in Four Winds, where she befriended Captain Jim, Miss Cornelia, and Leslie Moore, a young woman trapped in an unhappy relationship with an abusive husband. Anne helped Leslie find true love, such as she had experienced with Gilbert in her House of Dreams. After the birth of Jem, Anne and Gilbert moved to Ingleside, an old house in Glen St. Mary, where they expanded their family and lived for many years in happiness and prosperity.


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Early life[]

"The east room was the one you were born in. I remember your ma saying she loved to see the sunrise; and I mind hearing that you was born just as the sun was rising and its light on your face was the first thing your ma saw."
—An old woman commenting on Anne's birth[src]

Anne was born on March 5,[1] 1865, in the east room of The Yellow House, Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia, as the only child of Walter and Bertha Shirley. They were school teachers who died of scarlet fever three months after her birth.[2]

Anne was taken in by Mrs. Thomas, a woman who had helped with the housework at the Yellow House. She lived with the Thomases until, when she was nine years old, Mr. Thomas was hit by a train and killed. She then lived with the Hammond family, who had eight children, including three sets of twins, where she was practically a free servant until the age of eleven. When Mr. Hammond died, she was sent to an orphanage until the Cuthberts had requested a boy to be sent to them. A fateful mistake occurred, and Anne was sent instead.

Arrival at Green Gables[]

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Anne was eleven years old when she was adopted (not as a daughter) and allowed to stay with Marilla and Matthew.

School years[]

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Gilbert: "Carrots! Carrots!"
Anne: "[turns around, picks up her slate and breaks it over Gilbert's head] "You mean, hateful boy! How dare you!"
―Gilbert and Anne's spat in the Avonlea school[src]

Anne went to the Avonlea school with her best friend Diana. The first three weeks went fine, but trouble started when Gilbert Blythe arrived from visiting cousins in New Brunswick. The first day that he was back, he teased Anne about her hair and quickly learned the hard way that no one should do that. After Gilbert called her 'Carrots,' Anne slammed her slate onto his head, breaking the slate in the process. For this, Mr. Phillips, the teacher, punished her by making Anne stand in front of the blackboard upon which he had written that she needed to learn how to control her temper. To make things even worse, Anne's name was spelled as 'Ann'. With that, the biggest rivalry in the history of the Avonlea school started. Gilbert tried to apologize to Anne, but she refused to listen. The next day, after being forced to sit with Gilbert as a punishment, Anne took her books home with plans never to attend school again. After a bit of persuasion from Mrs. Lynde, Marilla allowed her to stay at home as long as she still did her schoolwork, which Anne did.[3]

"I never thought raspberry cordial would set people drunk, Marilla..."
—Anne talking to Marilla.[src]

In October, Anne invited Diana over for tea while Marilla was out, but things did not go as had so carefully planned. Instead of raspberry cordial, Anne accidentally served her currant wine, and Diana became drunk.[4] Mrs. Barry was livid with Anne and told her that she and Diana could no longer be friends. Because of this, Anne decided to go back to school where she would at least be able to see Diana, even if they could not be friends.[5]

In January 1877, a worried Diana arrived at Green Gables saying that her little sister Minnie May had croup, that her parents were out, and Mary Joe, who was watching them, was frantic. Anne hurried over to Orchard Slope with Diana and brought along a bottle of ipecac syrup. When they arrived, Minnie May was in a bad state, but Anne knew what to do because she had had experience with the croup before. Since she knew what to do, Anne was able to quickly help Minnie May. Several hours later Matthew arrived, having gone out for a doctor, but being obliged to go all the way to Spencervale for one. When she learned that Anne had saved Minnie May's life, Mrs. Barry forgave Anne and allowed her and Diana to be friends once again.[6]

Once again, trouble followed the two girls. After a Debating Club concert, Anne was spending the night at Diana's and the two of them jumped onto the spare room bed. Normally, this would not have been a disaster, but as Diana's Aunt Josephine was in the bed, the two girls got into trouble. The next day Anne apologized to Aunt Josephine and found another "kindred spirit", as she called close friends.[7]

In August, when Anne was about thirteen, she was at a party Diana held for the girls in their class. After tea, some of the girls started making dares. The first ones were simple, such as climbing to a certain height in a certain tree, hopping around the garden on one foot, or walking along the board fence. Anne was dared to walk the ridgepole of the roof by Josie Pye, and she did. Unfortunately, Anne lost her balance, fell, and broke her ankle (which, in later years, caused her to have mild arthritis). Mr. Barry carried her home where a worried Marilla met them. Over the next several weeks while Anne was recovering, she got many visits from her classmates and friends as well as the awe-inspiring superintendent.[8]

In October of the same year, Anne was back in school and was enthralled by the new teacher, Miss Stacy. The school decided to hold a concert on Christmas evening to pay for a schoolhouse flag. Anne got a part in a tableau with Diana and Ruby Gillis, a high-strung classmate. She was also chosen to recite two pieces. Puffed sleeves on dresses were fashionable at this time, and Anne wanted them more than anything. Stern and sensible Marilla, however, refused to add any frills to Anne's clothing.[9]

Matthew went to the store and tried to purchase a dress, but was overcome with shyness. Later that day, he met Rachel Lynde and was able to tell her what he wanted for Anne. Mrs. Lynde was understanding and purchased the cloth to make a lovely brown dress for Anne with rows of gathers and ruffles, puffed sleeves, and a matching ribbon for Anne's hair. Matthew gave it to her for Christmas and Anne wore it to the concert. Miss Josephine Barry sent along a pair of slippers for Anne as a Christmas gift, completing Anne's outfit. Gilbert was so taken by her appearance and performance that he picked up a tissue paper rose which had fallen from her hair and put it in the breast pocket of his suit jacket.[10]

Stella: "What are you laughing over, Anne?"
Anne: "These stories. As Phil would say they are killing—in more senses than one, for everybody died in them. What dazzlingly lovely heroines we had—and how we dressed them! Silks—satins—velvets—jewels—laces—they never wore anything else. Here is one of Jane Andrews' stories depicting her heroine as sleeping in a beautiful white satin nightdress trimmed with seed pearls."
Stella: "Go on. I begin to feel that life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it."
Anne: "Here's one I wrote. My heroine is disporting herself at a ball 'glittering from head to foot with large diamonds of the first water.' But what booted beauty or rich attire? 'The paths of glory lead but to the grave.' They must either be murdered or die of a broken heart. There was no escape for them."
―Anne and Stella re-reading the Story Club's endeavours years later[src]

During the school year, Anne formed a story club with several of the girls in her class. They all wrote stories, mainly romances, which always included a moral.[11] Several years later at Redmond, she and her friend read over their stories and laughed at their youthful attempts to write tragedy and romance. However, Anne was inspired to save and re-write one "fairy story" which eventually became a source of income for her.

"Anne Shirley, what have you done to your hair? Why, it's green!"
Marilla Cuthbert to Anne.[src]

In April 1879, when she was fourteen, Anne had another mishap - this time it had to do with her vanity. She had purchased a bottle of hair dye from a peddler, thinking that it would turn her hair black, but instead, it turned her hair green - a queer, dull, bronze green. Anne washed her hair with soap many times, but the colour was still the same. Marilla was forced to cut her hair off short in order to get rid of the dye.[12]

Soon afterward, while playing Lily Maid with the girls after reading Tennyson's poem 'The Lady of Shalott', Anne had another run-in with Gilbert. She was lying in Mr. Barry's flat-bottomed dory and drifting down the pond to the other end where the girls would be waiting when the flat began to sink. She was able to get near enough to the pillars of the bridge to grab on to them before the raft sank, but she was stuck. A little while later, Gilbert arrived rowing in Harmon Andrews' dory. He stopped and rescued Anne and once he had gotten her to shore, asked for her forgiveness again as it had been two years since the slate incident. Anne hesitated for a brief moment at this point, but still refused to forgive him.[13]

Anne Shirley: "No. I shall never be friends with you, Gilbert Blythe; and I don't want to be!"
Gilbert Blythe: "All right! I'll never ask you to be friends again, Anne Shirley. And I don't care either!"
―Anne and Gilbert after Gilbert rescues her from the Lake of Shining Waters[src]

In November, Miss Stacy organized a class for those who wished to attend Queen's Academy. Anne became a member of that class, as well as Gilbert. Diana, however, did not join as she was not going to further her education. Anne and Gilbert's rivalry was even stronger now that it was coming from both sides. Both students were equally determined to be top of the class.[14] In the entrance examinations for Queen's, Anne and Gilbert tied for first. Since they were both going to attend Queen's, they could continue to fight for the top position.[15]

Queen's Academy[]

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Anne began Queen's in September 1880 when she was fifteen-and-a-half years old. She took the accelerated program and graduated in one year instead of two. She also won an Avery Scholarship, which would pay for part of an education at Redmond College. Anne was determined to win this scholarship, which she did. Her rivalry with Gilbert was still strong and she tied with him once again as Gilbert won the gold medal.

Soon after Anne graduated, Matthew died. Anne had been planning on going to Redmond but decided against it in order to be with Marilla and to prevent Green Gables from being sold. She planned on teaching at the Carmody school as Gilbert had been given the Avonlea one. When Gilbert had heard about Anne's plans, he went to the trustees and had them give Anne the Avonlea school while he took the White Sands one.

At that point, Anne finally swallowed her pride and told Gilbert that she forgave him, and a beautiful friendship formed between them.

Teaching school[]

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Anne 16

Anne at sixteen

Anne became the teacher of the Avonlea school when she was sixteen, despite the fact that some mocked her, saying she would not be able to. Despite their thoughts, she played the part of a wonderful school teacher. Still, though, she was the impulsive and irrepressible person she had always been. She had Anthony Pye to conquer... Barbara Shaw to love... Paul Irving to be friends with... and so much more! But on occasion, her carelessness would get the better of her.

One such event happened when she told Joe Sloane to throw the package he had just gotten into the fire as she thought it was a package of "cakes" from someone who had been making them for the students. It turned out to be a package of fireworks and pinwheels. The entire classroom was evacuated and it took several minutes before the classroom was safe to enter. This particular event happened on a bad day for Anne, so fireworks in the classroom put her in an even worse mood.

Anne taught at the Avonlea school for two years before heading off to Redmond.

Redmond College[]

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Anne and Gilbert both went off to Redmond College the same year. Anne became known in Avonlea as the first who pursued a B.A. in English and the first girl to even attend college. She spent her freshman year of studies living in a boardinghouse. During her sophomore, junior, and senior years she lived at Patty's Place with three of her closest girlfriends: Stella Maynard, Priscilla Grant, and Philippa Gordon, the latter of whom she was first introduced to in Old St. John's Cemetery. She also had several romantic excursions. Among them were several marriage proposals, all which were refused. Her first proposal wasn't even in person - Billy Andrews had his sister Jane ask Anne for him! Charlie Sloane also asked for her hand and was promptly refused. But the most significant refusal was given to Gilbert Blythe, who in the wake of her rejection moved on to a new relationship with Christine Stuart - a girl that Anne immediately loathed. Anne also moved on, this time with her romantic ideal: Royal Gardner. Roy was rich, good looking, and spoke to her in poetry. Everyone, including Anne herself, assumed that they were going to be married - that is until Roy asked and Anne opened her mouth to say "Yes" but said "No" instead. Suddenly, she had realized that Roy wasn't right for her.

She didn't realize who was right for her, however, until after she returned home to Avonlea following graduation and a trip to see friends at Echo Lodge. When Davy asked whether she knew "that Gilbert Blythe was dying?", she went white. In that moment, she knew that she loved Gilbert, and now he was dying of fever, just like her parents. She spent an agonizing night knelt at her bedroom window, certain that she was going to lose Gilbert forever. Anne convinced herself that he no longer loved her and would die not knowing her feelings for him. However, the next morning, to her intense relief, she receives the news that Gilbert was on the road to recovery. His relationship with Christine is revealed to be purely platonic - Christine was engaged to a friend of Gilbert's from Queen's. Prompted by a letter sent by college pal Phil, Gilbert proposed a second time... and this time, Anne gave the answer he wanted.

Gilbert: "I'll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne. It will be three more years until I finish medical school. Even then, there won't be diamond sunbursts or marble halls."
Anne: "I don't want sunbursts or marble halls, I just want you!"
Gilbert proposing to Anne for the second time[src]

Summerside High School[]

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The First Year[]

After graduating from Redmond and getting engaged to Gilbert, Anne decided to accept an offer to teach at Summerside High School. On September 11, 1887, she and Mrs. Rachel Lynde went to Summerside to find a place to board. Mrs. Tom Pringle was known for having boarded various principals of the high school for fifteen years. Since Anne was chosen over the Pringles' relative, Mrs. Pringle refused to board her. Mrs. Braddock advised them to visit the Windy Poplars, the residence of the widowed Chatty MacLean and Kate MacComber. Rebecca Dew, the housekeeper, took a liking to Anne, and the widows allowed her to stay. Anne unpacked in the Tower room and immediately loved it. She decided it would be the place to write her letters to Gilbert and she would read his in a grove across the road.[16]

Anne started her Principalship at Summerside High School a few days later. Her class was full of Pringles or half-Pringles, with Jen Pringle being their ring-leader. Anne was invited for supper to several Pringles' houses. James Pringle, Jen's father, talked a great deal about discipline. Morton Pringle didn't listen to Anne when she was talking and Stephen Pringle's widow wrote her polite and poisonous letter. Anne's Pringle students were always late for lessons and Jen drew Anne's caricature on the board. When she kept her after school, Ellen Pringle, one of the Maplehurst ladies, came to school and took Jen with her.[17]

In October, Anne met little Elizabeth Grayson, her neighbour from the Evergreens, who she found to be a kindred spirit. She was also invited to Maplehurst, where she got acquainted with Sarah Pringle.[18] In November, Anne was invited for suppers to her students' homes.[19]

"Gilbert darling, I am so sick of pumpkin preserves! Never, never let us have pumpkin preserves in our house of dreams."
—Anne's letter to Gilbert[src]

In November, Anne organized High School Dramatic Club and directed the play Mary, Queen of Scots. Jen Pringle played Mary, but Anne thought Sophy Sinclair was better for role as Queen Mary. She became Sophy's coach and went home to Windy Poplars with Sophy every afternoon after school and rehearsed the play in the tower. They had a lot of fun together, for Sophy was full of quiet vivacity. On the day of premiere, Jen didn't come to school and her mother sent a word that she was ill. Eventually, Sophy replaced Jen and the play was very successful.[20]

One autumn evening, Anne went for a walk to the old graveyard where she met Valentine Courtaloe, who told her all about the dead Summerside residents, many of which were members of the Courtaloe and Pringle families.[21]

In December, Anne visited her student, Wilfred Bryce, at his home in Lowvale. She found Andy Bryce's diary, in which he had mentioned Abraham Pringle, the father of the Maplehurst Ladies. Anne asked Duncan Bryce, Wilfred's uncle if she could borrow the diary and he agreed. It was full of ill-spelled, ungrammatical tributes to the Captain’s courage and resourcefulness, especially in one wild enterprise of beating round the Horn. But his admiration had not, it seemed, extended to Abraham's brother Myrom Pringle, who was also a captain but of a different ship. The diary also contained a story of cannibalism from one of the Pringles.[22]

Anne decided to send the diary to Maplehurst because she thought they would enjoy the diary. A few days later, the Maplehurst carriage drove along Spook's Lane and Ellen and Sarah Pringle came to Windy Poplars. They went to the front doors which hadn't been opened since Amasa MacComber's death. They apologized to Anne for everything they had done and begged her not to tell anyone of the diary.

"It wasn't true... it couldn't be true. Uncle Myrom was just taking a rise out of Andy Bryce... Andy was so credulous. But everybody outside of our family will be glad to believe it. You knew it would make us all a laughing stock... and worse. Oh, you are very clever. We admit that. Jen will apologize and behave herself in future..."
Sarah Pringle[src]

Anne was shocked because she hadn't meant it as a threat, yet they had taken it that way. She explained everything and apologized, and the Shirley-Pringle feud ended.[23]

In February 1888, Trix Taylor visited Windy Poplars and told Anne about her troubles. Dr. Lennox Carter fell in love with Trix's sister Esme and was invited for supper in Taylors' house. Trix was afraid that her father had one of his spells on and invited Anne for supper because she hoped in Anne's help.[24] On the next day, Anne came to the Taylors' house. Cyrus Taylor was in a dreadful humour because Hugh Pringle had beaten him at a game of checkers. The Taylor family and Dr. Carter were silent throughout the whole supper and Anne came up with a great idea.[25]

"Perhaps you would be surprised to hear, Dr. Carter, that Mr. Taylor went deaf very suddenly last week?"
—Anne to Lennox Carter[src]

Then Trix and her brother asked Lennox what he thought about a man who refused to let his wife have a dog, gave his wife a pair of galoshes for a Christmas present and believed the earth was flat. He thought they were talking about their father. When Mrs. Taylor accused him of crocheting, Mr. Taylor exploded and eventually apologized for his behavior and agreed with the engagement of his daughter Esme.[26]

Anne with little Elizabeth drew the map of Fairy Land and Tomorrow.[27] In May, Marilla asked Anne to look for the Gibson family in Summerside. She befriended Pauline and her mother.[28] Pauline wanted to go to White Sands for Louisa's silver wedding but she had only black dress. Anne lent Pauline her own dress and spent the day with Mrs. Gibson.[29][30]

The last day of June, Sally Nelson married Gordon Hill and Anne was her bridesmaid. In the evening, she befriended Nora Nelson, Sally's sister. Nora told her about Jim Wilcox and their signal - light in a window.[31] After the wedding, Anne set the light on a window and forgot about it. In the night, everyone in Bonnyview woke up because they heard a noise. It was Jim Wilcox - he came because he saw the light. They were engaged after all.[32]

"I owe this to you, Anne. If you hadn't set the light... though just for two and a half minutes last night I could have chewed your ears off!"
Nora Nelson to Anne[src]

The school year ended and Anne came back to Green Gables for holiday.[33] She spent beautiful two months with her love, Gilbert.[34]

The Second Year[]

In September, Anne went to Summerside and the school started.[35] One afternoon she and her student Lewis Allen went to Dawlish Road for High School Dramatic Club subscription. He photographed old farms for competition. At the end of Dawlish Road, they visited the Armstrong house and met little Teddy Armstrong. Lewis photographed him and his dog Carlo.[36]

A few weeks later, they went to Dawlish Road again - Lewis wanted to give Teddy his photo and asked James Armstrong, where Teddy was. They found that Teddy was dead and his father hadn't a photo of him. Lewis gave Mr. Armstrong the picture that he was going to give Teddy. James thanked him and told them that he would be glad to participate in the subscription. When Anne and Lewis went inside the Armstrong house, Lewis found that James Armstrong was his uncle.[37]

Before Christmas holiday, Anne visited Katherine Brooke and invited her for holiday to Green Gables. She was surprised when Katherine agreed.[38] Anne showed Miss Brooke all her favourite places near Avonlea. Katherine told her about her unhappy childhood and life.[39] They met Gilbert who arrived from Kingsport. Anne, Marilla, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, and Dora and Davy gave Katherine their Christmas presents. One night Gilbert took them to see Diana and her daughter, little Anne Cordelia Wright.[40]

In January 1889, Anne persuaded Mrs. Campbell, Elizabeth's great-grandmother, to let her sing at the school concert. She also went with Katherine to dance at Carry Pringle's.[41] Three months later, cousin Ernestine Bugle visited Windy Poplars and told everyone Lowvale gossips.[42]

Hazel Marr told Anne about her problem with Terry Garland - she didn't love him and didn't want to marry him. When Hazel was gone in Kingsport, Anne befriended Terry and he told her that he didn't love Hazel and for a while fell in love with Anne under the moonlight.[43] Later, Hazel was angry at Anne - she thought that Anne wanted to divide them and grew jealous.[44] After some time, they forgave her.[45]

"Oh, I don't know if I hate you the most or pity you the most! Oh, how could you treat me like this... after I've loved you so... trusted you so... believed in you so!"
Hazel Marr to Anne[src]

The summer holiday came and Elizabeth came with Anne to Avonlea. Everyone at Green Gables loved her. Then came Katherine with her puppy for the rest of summer. Gilbert didn't come - he was gone west to work on a new railroad.[46]

The Third Year[]

In September, Anne went to the Raymond's house and babysat Geraldine and Gerald. Gerald stuck his tongue out at Geraldine, put the coyote skin on his back, used a fishing rod to catch the unsuspecting caller Pamela Drake's hat, told Geraldine she had eaten a worm, made fun of and harming Ivy Trent and fell into a creek.[47][48][49]

In November, Anne helped Jarvis Morrow and Dovie Westcott with their secret wedding and they ran away.[50][51] When her father was in Charlottetown, Dovie had said that she would go to Jarvis' sister's house for the wedding. When she didn't arrive, Anne went to her house to inspect. She found Dovie in her bedroom and asked her why she did not show up. Dovie told Anne that she was afraid, but Anne helped her and the wedding was saved.[52]

"Anne, darling, we owe it all to you. We'll never forget it, will we, Jarvis?"
Dovie Westcott to Anne after her wedding[src]

It turned out that her father was very thankful for Anne's help with their marriage.[53]

In March 1890, Anne visited Tomgallon House. Minerva Tomgallon, the last member of Tomgallon family, told her about the Curse of Tomgallons and dead members of her family.[54][55]

In June, Anne went with little Elizabeth at Flying Cloud. She met a Man there and befriended him. When they came back, Elizabeth was knocked down by a team of runaway horses on the mainland road.[56] In the hospital, Elizabeth found that Mr. Man was her father Pierce Grayson.[57]

Then, the school year, as well as Anne's principalship at Summerside High School, ended. Anne said goodbye to everyone and went back to Avonlea.[58]


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"There's never been a wedding in this house... When I was a child I heard an old minister say that a house was not a real home until it had been consecrated by a birth, a wedding and a death."
Marilla to Mrs. Lynde on Anne's wedding[src]

Anne and Gilbert were married at Green Gables. Their wedding was the first to take place there. Anne sewed her wedding dress herself.

House of Dreams[]

Gilbert and Anne moved into their House of Dreams located in Four Winds. There Anne met Leslie Moore, Cornelia Bryant, Captain Jim, Dick Moore, and Susan Baker. She gave birth to her first child, Joyce, who died shortly after. Her second child, Jem, was also born there and survived. Anne, Gilbert, and little Jem decided to move into the Morgan place, and leave the House of Dreams in September 1892.


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The Morgan place, renamed Ingleside by the Blythe family, was bursting with action. In this house, Anne's other five children: Walter, Nan, Di, Shirley, and Rilla were born.

World War I[]

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When the World War I began, Anne's eldest son, Jem, signed up immediately. Later on, her second son, Walter, joined up as well. Anne was distraught when Walter was killed in action. In 1917, her youngest son Shirley joined the Flying Corps. Through all of this, Anne remained strong, but there were times when she was extremely worried. She was very thankful when the war was finally over and her Jem and Shirley came home.

Physical appearance[]

"A child of about eleven, garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish-grey wincey. She wore a faded brown sailor hat and beneath the hat, extending down her back, were two braids of very thick, decidedly red hair. Her face was small, white and thin, also much freckled; her mouth was large and so were her eyes, which looked green in some lights and moods and grey in others."
Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 2[src]

In the first books, Anne was viewed by many people - including herself - as plain. She grew up, however, to be beautiful, slender and starry-eyed.

Although Anne despised her freckles and red hair for a long time, she always comforted herself with the knowledge that she had a very pretty nose.


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Anne, having such creativity, wittiness, and wonder, lives more in her own dream world than out in the real world. Though a willful girl, she strives for the best in anyone she meets (unless they've disappointed her personally). Anne is also an optimistic person who strives to make the best of any situation even if there are moments where all hope seems lost. Although Anne maintains a cheerful demeanor in public, she often finds herself in the "depths of despair" when she finds herself struggling with loneliness. At times she could get very careless. This carelessness was often the cause of her mishaps. She did everything from starching Matthew's handkerchiefs to putting liniment in a cake. As she got older, she became more careful. Also, Anne was very determined and did not give up easily. Moreover, Anne is a devoted, passionate friend and the most idealistic soul in the story. In Anne’s later life, she was a caring and loving mother to six mischievous children (seven if you count Joyce). [1]


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Walter and Bertha Shirley[]

"Come to look at you, I see the resemblance. You're complected like your pa. He had red hair. But you favour your ma in your eyes and mouth. She was a nice little thing... They was buried in the one grave and the School Board put up a tombstone to them as a reward for faithful service."
—An old woman telling Anne about her parents.[src]

Although Anne couldn't remember her parents, as they both died before she was a year old, she remembered their names and spoke of them with respect and love. She was overjoyed when she visited Bolingbroke with Philippa Gordon while on holiday from Redmond, as it meant that she could visit her parents' home.

Old woman: "Here's a bundle of old letters I found in that closet upstairs when I came here. I dunno what they are—I never bothered to look in 'em, but the address on the top one is 'Miss Bertha Willis,' and that was your ma's maiden name. You can take 'em if you'd keer to have 'em."
Anne: "Oh, thank you—thank you."
Old woman: "That was all that was in the house. The furniture was all sold to pay the doctor bills, and Mrs. Thomas got your ma's clothes and little things. I reckon they didn't last long among that drove of Thomas youngsters. They was destructive young animals, as I mind 'em."
Anne: "I haven't one thing that belonged to my mother. I—I can never thank you enough for these letters."
―Anne revisiting her parents' home in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia[src]

While there, she obtained a set of love letters from her mother and father to each other from the woman who currently owned the Shirleys' old home.

Matthew Cuthbert[]

Marilla Cuthbert[]

Diana Barry[]

Anne: "Do you remember that evening we first met, Diana, and 'swore' eternal friendship in your garden? We've kept that 'oath,' I think ... we've never had a quarrel nor even a coolness. I shall never forget the thrill that went over me the day you told me you loved me. I had had such a lonely, starved heart all through my childhood. I'm just beginning to realize how starved and lonely it really was. Nobody cared anything for me or wanted to be bothered with me. I should have been miserable if it hadn't been for that strange little dream-life of mine, wherein I imagined all the friends and love I craved. But when I came to Green Gables everything was changed. And then I met you. You don't know what your friendship meant to me. I want to thank you here and now, dear, for the warm and true affection you've always given me."
Diana: "And always, always will. I shall never love anybody ... any girl ... half as well as I love you. And if I ever do marry and have a little girl of my own I'm going to name her Anne."
―Anne and Diana discussing their friendship after Anne decides to attend Redmond College[src]

Diana and Anne became best friends upon their first meeting when Anne asked to 'swear eternal friendship' with her. The two kept their promise and both of them were brokenhearted when Diana's mother wouldn't let Diana play with her because Anne accidentally set Diana drunk on currant wine. Mrs. Barry later forgave Anne when the latter saved Diana's little sister's life, and Diana and Anne were reconciled.

Gilbert Blythe[]

Anne first met Gilbert Blythe when she began school. She took a deep disliking towards him when he pulled on her hair and called her "Carrots". To this, she hit him over the head with a slate. Even though he had apologized numerous times, she refused to forgive him until much later on.

When the two were much older, they did become friends and their relationship was platonic. It seemed quite obvious at times that Gilbert might have been interested in Anne for a long time, especially since he once proposed to her. Anne rejected the first proposal but when he asked again she accepted it.

After they married, they had a child named Joyce (also known as Joy) but Joyce died in infancy. The couple mourned deeply, but they managed to move on and have six more children. Even after many years of marriage, the two were hugely devoted to each other.

Rachel Lynde[]

Muriel Stacy[]

Josephine Barry[]

Josie Pye[]

Jane Andrews[]

Ruby Gillis[]

Priscilla Grant[]

Stella Maynard[]

James A. Harrison[]

Anthony Pye[]

Paul Irving[]

Lavendar Lewis[]

Charlie Sloane[]

Billy Andrews[]

Roy Gardner[]

Phil Gordon[]

Katherine Brooke[]

Chatty MacLean[]

Kate MacComber[]

Rebecca Dew[]

Pringle family[]

Leslie Moore[]

Captain Jim Boyd[]

Cornelia Bryant[]

Susan Baker[]

Joyce Blythe[]

Jem Blythe[]

Walter Blythe[]

Nan and Di Blythe[]

Nan and her twin Di were born in 1895 in Ingleside, Glen St. Mary, to Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe. Their grandmother, Mrs. Blythe, visited Ingleside during their birth. Little Nan looked like her father and grandmother. She inherited their brown hair and hazel eyes and looked different from Diana, who had red hair and green eyes like their mother.

Shirley Blythe[]

Rilla Blythe[]

Meredith family[]


"We thought of four names, Jean and Janet and Dorothy... and Anne. I've looked at her and said the first three names. They don't fit. She's not Jean or Janet and Dorothy. But I knew right away that she was Anne. Not A-N-N. Anne with an e. She's our perfect, perfect Anne."
Walter Shirley on naming his daughter.[src]

Anne is a female given name of Hebrew origin and means God has favoured me. The spelling, Anne, is a French form of the name Anna. Her last name, Shirley, means bright meadow. The surname Blythe comes from the Old English meaning of happy, joyous, blithe.

  • Anne's name is pronounced Ann, but if it is spelled without the e she gets very angry as she disliked the name Ann but preferred the name Anne, similar to how she dislikes Catherine but likes Katherine.
  • Anne's best friend Diana named her daughter Anne Cordelia after her. Her second name, Cordelia, was Anne's favorite name during her childhood.
  • Anne named one of her twin daughters after herself. However, everybody called the little girl Nan, to distinguish her from her mother.
  • Anne's son Jem named his only daughter after his beloved mother.
  • Anne shared her name also with Anne Bryant, the mother of Miss Cornelia, and with Anne Sweet, the sister of Janet Sweet.

Name translations
"Anne" in different languages

  • アン (Japanese)
  • 安 or 安妮 (Chinese)
  • 앤 (Korean)
  • Энн (Russian)
  • آن (Persian)
  • Anna (Italian)

Behind the scenes[]


  • Evelynnesbit

    Evelyn Nesbit

    The appearance of Anne Shirley was modelled after Evelyn Nesbit, an American artists' model. Lucy Maud Montgomery, unaware of her notoriety, used a photograph of her from the Metropolitan Magazine and pasted it to the wall of her bedroom as a reference for Anne.


Anne of Green Gables Wiki has 1,256 images of Anne Shirley (view gallery).



Chronicles of Avonlea

Further Chronicles of Avonlea

  • TBA

The Road to Yesterday

  • TBA

The Blythes Are Quoted

  • TBA

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Before Green Gables (Chapter 34: First Day at School)
  2. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 5: Anne's History)
  3. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 15: A Tempest in the School Teapot)
  4. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 16: Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results)
  5. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 17: A New Interest in Life)
  6. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 18: Anne to the Rescue)
  7. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 19: A Concert, a Catastrophe, and a Confession)
  8. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 23: Anne Comes to Grief in an Affair of Honor)
  9. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 24: Miss Stacy and Her Pupils Get Up a Concert)
  10. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 25: Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves)
  11. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 26: The Story Club is Formed)
  12. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 27: Vanity and Vexation of Spirit)
  13. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 28: An Unfortunate Lily Maid)
  14. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 30: The Queens Class Is Organized)
  15. Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 32: The Pass List is Out)
  16. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 1)
  17. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 2)
  18. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 3)
  19. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 4)
  20. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 5)
  21. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 5)
  22. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 7)
  23. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 7)
  24. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 9)
  25. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 10)
  26. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 10)
  27. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 11)
  28. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 12)
  29. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 13)
  30. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 14)
  31. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 15)
  32. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 16)
  33. Anne of Windy Poplars (First Year: Chapter 17)
  34. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 1)
  35. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 1)
  36. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 2)
  37. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 3)
  38. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 4)
  39. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 5)
  40. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 6)
  41. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 7)
  42. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 8)
  43. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 10)
  44. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 11)
  45. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 12)
  46. Anne of Windy Poplars (Second Year: Chapter 13)
  47. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 2)
  48. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 3)
  49. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 4)
  50. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 5)
  51. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 6)
  52. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 7)
  53. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 8)
  54. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 10)
  55. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 11)
  56. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 12)
  57. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 13)
  58. Anne of Windy Poplars (Third Year: Chapter 14)

External links[]