"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 Anne Shirley's father. You may be looking for his grandson, Walter Blythe, or his great-grandson, Walter Blythe Jr.

Walter Shirley was the husband of Bertha Willis and the father of Anne Shirley.


Early lifeEdit

Walter was born probably in 1846 somewhere in Nova Scotia to Mr. and Mrs. Shirley. He was their only child and was raised there. At the age of six he attended school. During his childhood, his mother died of consumption and left him alone with his father. They were devastated after her death.

Studies and teacher careerEdit

Walter was very clever and decided to continue with studies and become a teacher. At the age of fifteen he attended Normal School in Nova Scotia. There he met Bertha Willis and fell in love with her.

In June 1862, Walter and Bertha graduated. In September, they became teachers at Bolingbroke High School. Both lived in boarding houses and wrote many letters to each other.



Walter and Bertha's wedding photo.

The two were a match from the start, and loved one another dearly. They were married in June 1864, and settled down in The Yellow House in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia.

His only child, Anne, was born in March 1865 in east room in The Yellow House. She has red hair and fair skin like him. Walter loved his daughter so much.


Three months after Anne's birth, Walter and Bertha died of a fever. They were buried in one grave and the School Board put up a tombstone to them as a reward for faithful service.

Physical appearanceEdit


Walter Shirley

"Your father was sorter homely but awful nice."
—The Roses of Yesterday, Anne of the Island

Walter Shirley was, as quoted above, said to be very homely. He had red hair which he passed on to Anne.




Walter is a male given name of Old German origin and means commmander of the army.

  • Walter's only daughter Anne named her second son Walter after him.
  • Jem Blythe, Walter's grandson, named his son Walter Jr. after his brother and grandfather.

Behind the scenesEdit



  • Walter was probably born in the same year as his wife Bertha, because they met during studies at Normal School. However, it is possible that Walter was one year older and studied there for two years.
  • Walter was redheaded in the books and died three months after Anne's birth, in the film he had brown hair and was still alive during Anne's childhood.
  • Walter never met his son-in-law Gilbert Blythe and grandchildren Joyce, Jem, Walter, Nan, Di, Shirley and Rilla.
  • Water's daughter Anne and grandchildren Jem, Di and Rilla inherited his red hair.


Anne of Green Gables Wiki has 6 images of Walter Shirley (view category).


Book appearances

Film appearances