Heritage Theft on the Macneill Property

post-office

I was told this story by Jennie at the Macneill farm bookstore. If you haven’t been able to visit Green Gables think of your experience as broken into two parts. The Green Gables house is on a beautiful property with vegetable gardens and a barn similar to a farm found on Prince Edward Island in the late 1800’s.  What surprised me was the walking paths that allowed you to explore the ‘haunted woods’, the old school property, the local cemetery and across the road you’ll find the Macneill farm. It’s on this farm property that Maud spent half her life. The farm is still in the Macneill family to this day and they operate the bookstore and showcase the foundations of the original house. on the edge of their property. Jennie Macneill was at the bookstore the day I was visiting and it was such a surprise and special experience that I didn’t expect and could never have predicted. It was while she was showcasing some of the historic pieces in the bookstore that I found out about the theft.

I studied art history in University and looting of historic or artistic pieces happens for various reasons but the end result is usually the same. We will most likely never see this seal in the thief’s’ lifetime. It will probably remain hidden from the world until the thief or the collector, the thief sold it to, dies. Typically these pieces don’t come back from the black market until the next generation finds them and either returns them after immediately discovering the theft or sells them to a new owner. Sometimes this can take generations. There are still stories that emerge of paintings in museums that are found to be have been looted from European families during World War II.  These paintings could have been legitimately donated or purchased at auction but after years of displaying a historian or family member will stumble across the piece and a long legal battle ensues between the original owner and the museum. Its a very messy business with few victories. We however can help with sharing the story so when the piece does emerge on the legitimate stage again we can all be quick to point out it origin. The piece was stolen on May 31, 2013 and special attention is to be payed at auctions and antique shops in the Greater Toronto Area and Mississauga, Ontario or Winter Garden, Ft. Lauderdale or Orlando, Florida area according to  LM Montgomery Literary Society. Below is the print version of the CBC story and remember to click on the link to view the video.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2388970524/

“A piece of history from Anne of Green Gables’ author Lucy Maud Montgomery has gone missing from a P.E.I. museum.

A postal cancellation seal — which is a stamp that was used to seal letters and cancel postage — that Montgomery used during her lifetime has gone missing from her former home in Cavendish, P.E.I.

After holding a few teaching positions on P.E.I. following a brief stint at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Montgomery moved to Cavendish in 1898 to help her grandmother at the local post office. She worked there for 13 years.

The missing stamp was used in the community’s post office for nearly 200 years.

The item was kept in a bookshop at the Site of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, which is now a museum and designated a Canadian National Historic Site.

Montgomery’s descendants, who now live and maintain the property where the author lived for more than 30 years, say they discovered the artifact was missing on Friday.

The family is waiting to make contact with the RCMP to provide them with further details.

Montgomery introduced readers to one of Canada’s most enduring fictional characters, Anne . The heartwarming story of the red-headed orphan with a penchant for trouble has gone on to sell hundreds of millions of copies and became the basis for numerous television, film and stage adaptations.”

photo from Night Owl City
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/artifact-missing-from-lucy-maud-montgomery-house-1.1357140
http://lmmontgomeryliterarysociety.weebly.com/the-birthplace-of-anne-of-green-gables-the-macneill-homestead.html
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