Chronology of the Anne Books

[See also note on the format of references to the books.]

Rilla of Ingleside begins in June 1914 (RoI, ch 1, 1st page). It is the same day that Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated, which makes it 28th June. Rilla says (RoI, ch 2, last page) that she will be fifteen next month (July 1914) so she was born in July 1899. Jem is aged 21. (RoI, ch 1, 5th page).

It is May when Rainbow Valley begins (RV, ch 1), Rilla is six years old and Jem is 13 (RV, ch 3). Rilla will therefore be seven in July, and the year must be 1906. The Meredith children's ages are: Jerry 12, Faith 11, Una 10 and Carl 9 (RV, ch 2). The twins (Nan and Di) were ten years old at this time (RV, ch 3), and so were born some time between June 1895 and May 1896, depending on whether they were just 10 or nearly 11.

In Anne's House of Dreams, it is June when 'Leslie returns home' (AHoD, ch 23). Jem is born in the following chapter, though a date is not given. It is just possible that Jem's birthday falls in June, though some time in the following few months seems more likely. If his birthday is in June, he would be just 21 at the beginning of RoI; if it is later on, he would be 22 later that same year. Let's assume that his birthday is later in the year, so that the year in which he was born would be 1914 - 22 = 1892.

Working backwards, this means that Joyce was born in 1891, Anne and Gilbert therefore married in 1890. Their engagement must have begun three years before that, in 1887, and their course at Redmond would have started four years previously, in 1883. The two years Anne spent teaching at Avonlea would have begun in August 1881, and this is the point at which Anne of Avonlea begins, at which point Anne is said to be 'half-past sixteen' (AoA, ch 1). Anne's birthday is in March (AoA, ch 13), which means that she was born in 1881 - 16 = 1865.

At the beginning of Anne of Ingleside, it it 'nine years since [Anne] went away [from Green Gables]' (AoI, ch 1). It is therefore presumably 1899 (the description of the woods in chapter two suggests late spring or summer). At this stage, Jem is seven years old, and Shirley is two (AoI, ch 3). Rilla is just about to be born (AoI, ch 10). This must be early July 1899, because in June 1914 Rilla says 'next month I'll be fifteen' (RoI, ch 2), and by the end of August 1899 Anne had recovered from Rilla's birth (AoI, ch 11). Shirley must have been born between two and three years before this, in late 1896 or early 1897. Walter is six years old (AoI, ch 7), so he was born in late 1892 or early 1893. But Jem was born in late summer or autumn 1892, so that Walter must have been born in spring or early summer 1893.

This gives the following dates (with Anne's age in square brackets).

Date Event Anne's
March 1865 Anne born in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia -
Spring 1876 Anne arrives at Green Gables 11
Summer 1880 Anne goes to Queens 15
Summer 1881 Anne begins teaching at Avonlea 16
Summer 1883 Course at Redmond begins 18
Summer 1887 Anne and Gilbert engaged, Anne becomes Principle at Summerside 22
Summer 1890 Anne and Gilbert marry and move to Four Winds 25
Spring 1891 Joyce born and dies 26
Autumn 1892 Jem born 27
Spring/summer 1893 Walter born 28
Late 1894 / early 1895 Nan and Di born 29/30
Late 1896 / early 1897 Shirley born 31/32
Spring / summer 1899 Anne of Ingleside begins 34
July 1899 Rilla born 34
Feb - May 1906 Anne and Gilbert visit Europe 40-41
May 1906 Rainbow Valley begins 41
June 1914 Rilla of Ingleside begins 49

Marilla is eighty-five when Rainbow Valley begins (RV, ch 2), and so must have been born in 1820 or late 1819. She would have been fifty-six when Anne first arrived at Green Gables, 29 years before.*

* It has recently been pointed out to me that this calculation of Marilla's age disagrees with what is said in AotI, ch 22. 'Marilla felt that out of her sixty years she had lived only the nine that had followed the advent of Anne.' This of course implies that Marilla was 51 when Anne arrived at Green Gables. It'll take a while to work out what to do about this...

Last updated on 9th August 1999
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