"Well, Anne, you've done real well at Queen's I must say. To take First Class Licence in one year and win the Avery scholarship – well, well, Mrs. Lynde says pride goes before a fall and she doesn't believe in the higher education of women at all; she says it unfits them for woman's true sphere. I don't believe a word of it."
Marilla Cuthbert to Anne[src]

Queen's Academy is a teachers' college (otherwise known as a normal school) in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where students can train to get either a First or Second Class provincial teacher's licence. Notable people who went there include Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe, Katherine Brooke, Leslie West and Jem Blythe. The colours of Queen's are purple and scarlet.


Queen's Academy is located in Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island. It is too far from Beechwood, Josephine Barry's home, for Anne to stay at Beechwood while attending the Academy; however, Anne stayed there while sitting for her Entrance examinations to Queen's.


1874-1875 school yearEdit

"I had some brains ... I longed so for a B.A. course ... but naturally I might just as well have yearned for the moon. However, Uncle Henry agreed to put me through Queen's if I would pay him back when I got a school. He paid my board in a miserable third-rate boarding-house where I had a room over the kitchen that was ice cold in winter and boiling hot in summer, and full of stale cooking smells in all seasons. And the clothes I had to wear to Queen's! But I got my licence and I got the second room in Summerside High ... the only bit of luck I've ever had."
Katherine Brooke to Anne Shirley[src]

Katherine as a teacher

It is likely, though not known for sure, that Katherine Brooke studied at Queen's for one school year only, that year being 1874-1875, judging by her age (she was about fifteen at the time) and her financial situation (in her uncle's debt). She lived in a third-rate boarding-house and had to wear unattractive cast-off clothes, but she stuck it through and earned her teacher's licence in the end. After she left Queen's, she applied for and got the job of junior teacher at Summerside High School.

1876-1877 school yearEdit

"Mr. Phillips goes up to see Prissy Andrews nearly every evening. He says it is to help her with her lessons but Miranda Sloane is studying for Queen's too, and I should think she needed help a lot more than Prissy because she's ever so much stupider, but he never goes to help her in the evenings at all."
—Anne Shirley to Matthew Cuthbert[src]

Prissy in school

During the 1876-1877 school year, Prissy Andrews and Miranda Sloane from Avonlea studied for the 1877 Entrance exam to Queen's under the teaching of Teddy Phillips. It is unknown whether or not Miranda passed the exam; however, Anne mentioned to Marilla that 'Mr Andrews says it cost him one hundred and fifty dollars to put Prissy through [Queen's], and Prissy wasn't a dunce in geometry'.[1] Prissy also told Anne that she 'sat up half the night every night of her Entrance week and crammed for dear life'[2] just so she could get in.

1877-1878 school yearEdit

"Leslie's old grandmother West died and she left Leslie a little money—enough to give her a year at Queen's Academy. Leslie had made up her mind to pass for a teacher if she could, and then earn enough to put herself through Redmond College. That had been her father's pet scheme—he wanted her to have what he had lost. Leslie was full of ambition and her head was chock full of brains. She went to Queen's, and she took two years' work in one year and got her First; and when she came home she got the Glen school."
Miss Cornelia to Anne[src]

In 1877, she was fifteen years old, Leslie West from Four Winds used the money left to her by her paternal grandmother to attend Queen's for one year. She took two years' work in one year, attending at the same time as Prissy Andrews, achieved a First Class licence and intended to teach at the school in Glen St. Mary to save up enough money for Redmond College, but her sudden marriage at sixteen to Dick Moore, which she did not want but agreed to out of love for her mother, ended all that.[3]

1878-1879 school yearEdit

"The Queen's class was organised in due time. Gilbert Blythe, Anne Shirley, Ruby Gillis, Jane Andrews, Josie Pye, Charlie Sloane, and Moody Spurgeon MacPherson joined it. Diana Barry did not, as her parents did not intend to send her to Queen's."
Anne of Green Gables[src]

Miss Stacy

In November 1878, Muriel Stacy, then the teacher in the Avonlea school, organised a Queen's class for her advanced students to prepare them to take the Entrance examination in June 1880. The class consisted of seven students, but did not include Diana Barry. Anne was bitterly crushed by this news, but resolved to study hard and make Matthew and Marilla proud.

At this time, Ruby Gillis said she would only teach for two years after getting her licence, because she intended to get married afterwards. Jane Andrews, however, declared that she would spend her whole life teaching, because, as she said, 'you are paid a salary for teaching, but a husband won't pay you anything, and growls if you ask for a share in the egg and butter money'.[4] (She later got married to a millionaire from Winnipeg and became Mrs Inglis.) Josie Pye said she didn't have to earn her own living, and was therefore studying at Queen's because she could. Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, true to his namesakes, expressed his ambition to become a minister.

1879-1880 school yearEdit

"But you've done good work this past year, and you deserve a good, jolly vacation. Have the best time you can in the out-of-door world and lay in a good stock of health and vitality and ambition to carry you through next year. It will be the tug of war, you know—the last year before the Entrance."
—Miss Stacy to her pupils on the last day of school[src]

By the time summer of 1879 came around, the Queen's class had studied diligently and Miss Stacy told them that they deserved a good rest. She announced that she was going to keep on teaching in Avonlea for another year at least, because she had grown interested in her pupils and what would become of them. They resumed study under her guidance in September 1879, working harder than ever. Anne, fuelled by relentless ambition, began to have nightmares where she failed the exam and Gilbert Blythe's name appeared at the top of the pass list.

"We've studied hard and Miss Stacy has drilled us thoroughly, but we mayn't get through for all that. We've each got a stumbling block. Mine is geometry of course, and Jane's is Latin, and Ruby and Charlie's is algebra, and Josie's is arithmetic. Moody Spurgeon says he feels it in his bones that he is going to fail in English history. Miss Stacy is going to give us examinations in June just as hard as we'll have at the Entrance and mark us just as strictly, so we'll have some idea."
—Anne Shirley[src]

Miss Josephine Barry

Miss Stacy ran trial exams for her students and Anne 'came out splendidly', according to Diana. However, her number for the real exams in Charlottetown was thirteen, which made her uneasy even though she wasn't superstitious at all. Diana's aunt, Josephine Barry, a kindred spirit of Anne's, offered to let Anne stay at her home, Beechwood, for the duration of the exams, which Anne accepted gratefully.


Sitting for the exams

When it came around to the exams, Moody Spurgeon declared he had failed history and was going to be a disappointment to his parents, while Ruby only discovered an error on her English paper after she had turned it in. Nevertheless, Anne thought she did pretty well, though she was nervous about the geometry paper. Josie thought the geometry was easy, though Charlie was sure he failed algebra, his weakest subject.

True to her ambitious nature, Anne declared to Diana after it was all over and she was back in Avonlea, 'I'd rather not pass at all than not come out pretty well up on the list'[5] – by which she meant that she wanted to come out above Gilbert Blythe.

"You've all passed, every one of you, Moody Spurgeon and all, although he's conditioned in history. Jane and Ruby did pretty well—they're halfway up—and so did Charlie. Josie just scraped through with three marks to spare, but you'll see she'll put on as many airs as if she'd led. Won't Miss Stacy be delighted? Oh, Anne, what does it feel like to see your name at the head of a pass list like that? If it were me I know I'd go crazy with joy."
—Diana to Anne[src]

As a credit to Miss Stacy's teaching, all seven of her students passed the exams, though Moody Spurgeon was conditioned in history. For Anne, however, her cup of happiness was full, as she came out on the very top of the pass list, ahead of all the Island – tied with Gilbert Blythe, to be sure, but her name was printed first.

1880-1881 school yearEdit

"Anne intended taking up the Second Year work being advised to do so by Miss Stacy; Gilbert Blythe elected to do the same. This meant getting a First Class teacher's licence in one year instead of two, if they were successful; but it also meant much more and harder work. Jane, Ruby, Josie, Charlie, and Moody Spurgeon, not being troubled with the stirrings of ambition, were content to take up the Second Class work."
Anne of Green Gables[src]

In September of 1880, Anne, Gilbert, Jane, Ruby, Josie, Charlie and Moody Spurgeon began attending Queen's Academy. While the others had family in Charlottetown to board them, Miss Josephine Barry arranged a nice boarding-house for Anne to stay in, as Beechwood was too far from the Academy to be practical. Anne and Gilbert opted to take up the Second Year work, which would allow them to obtain a First Class teacher's licence in one year. Jane, Ruby, Josie, Charlie and Moody Spurgeon, however, took up the work for a Second Class licence; to get a First Class licence, they would have to continue at Queen's for another year.

"In the Academy Anne gradually drew a little circle of friends about her, thoughtful, imaginative, ambitious students like herself. With the 'rose-red' girl, Stella Maynard, and the dream girl', Priscilla Grant, she soon became intimate, finding the latter pale spiritual-looking maiden to be full to the brim of mischief and pranks and fun, while the vivid, black-eyed Stella had a heartful of wistful dreams and fancies, as aerial and rainbow-like as Anne's own."
Anne of Green Gables[src]
A 43 Priscilla

Priscilla Grant

While at Queen's, Anne became friends with two girls also taking Second Year classes – Priscilla Grant and Stella Maynard. It is not known whether they were taking two years' work in one, like her, or whether they did their First Year work at Queen's the year before Anne and her classmates arrived.

"A wealthy manufacturer of New Brunswick had died and left part of his fortune to endow a large number of scholarships to be distributed among the various high schools and academies of the Maritime Provinces, according to their respective standings. There had been much doubt whether one would be allotted to Queen's, but the matter was settled at last, and at the end of the year the graduate who made the highest mark in English and English Literature would win the scholarship – two hundred and fifty dollars a year for four years at Redmond College. No wonder that Anne went to bed that night with tingling cheeks!"
Anne of Green Gables[src]

That year, there were several prizes up for grabs – gold medals (one for mathematics) and a new instalment: the Avery scholarship, so created because of a recently deceased wealthy manufacturer's fortune that was divided up and allotted to various Maritime high schools and provinces, of which Queen's was one. The Avery scholarship, which was in English, paid two hundred and fifty dollars a year for four years at Redmond College – a high but worthy goal. In 1881, Gilbert Blythe won the gold medal, but Anne was awarded the Avery scholarship, much to the delight of Marilla and Matthew. Gilbert, Anne, Jane and Ruby finished their studies at Queen's and returned to Avonlea with their teacher's licences.

1881-1882 school yearEdit

Marilla: "Is Josie going to teach?"
Anne: "No, she is going back to Queen's next year. So are Moody Spurgeon and Charlie Sloane. Jane and Ruby are going to teach and they have both got schools – Jane at Newbridge and Ruby at some place up west."
―Marilla and Anne[src]
A 43 Stella

Stella Maynard

After Anne, Gilbert, Jane and Ruby left Queen's, Josie, Moody Spurgeon and Charlie all stayed for another year in order to get First Class licences. Moody Spurgeon then taught for two years until he decided to go to Redmond at his mother's wishes. Stella Maynard also took a third year at Queen's; this enabled her to enter the Sophomore year at Redmond two years later.

1888-1889 school yearEdit

"Then I'll manage Queen's for a year and after that teach and educate myself. How can I ever repay you, Miss Shirley? Uncle wouldn't have listened to any one else, but he likes you."
—Wilfred Bryce to Anne[src]

In December 1887, Anne Shirley, Wilfred Bryce's teacher at Summerside High School, persuaded his Uncle Duncan to let Wilfred stay out the year instead of leaving school after New Year. Thus, Wilfred was happy and expressed ambitions to attend Queen's (which he would do so in the 1888 to 1889 school year) and then teach and educate himself.

1889-1890 school yearEdit

"I do like Lewis ... he is so plucky and ambitious, with a charming grin in place of a smile. And he really isn't over-strong. I was afraid last year he would break down. But his summer on the farm seems to have built him up a bit. This is his last year in High and then he hopes to achieve a year at Queen's."
—Anne Shirley[src]

Lewis Allen was a poor orphaned student of Summerside High School who dearly wanted to get an education. He did farm work, housework and waiting tables to pay for his board and schooling. Anne, trying to help him out, made sure that he stayed for dinner at Windy Poplars as often as he could (Aunt Kate at first said they couldn't afford it, but Rebecca Dew was insistent that they assist Lewis as much as possible.) After Lewis and Anne discovered that James Armstrong was in fact Lewis's long-lost uncle, Lewis was no longer alone in the world. He began at McGill University in September 1890; it can be assumed that he did indeed achieve his goal of doing a year at Queen's during 1889-1890.

1890-1891 school yearEdit

"Sophy Sinclair is going to Queen's. Then she means to teach until she has saved up enough money to go to the School of Dramatic Expression in Kingsport."
—Anne in a letter to Gilbert[src]

Sophy Sinclair, another poor yet ambitious and determined Summerside High School student, rode her father's mare bareback six miles in and six miles out to attend school each day. She was particularly gifted in the dramatic arts, which became especially clear when she played the lead role of Mary in Summerside High's production of Mary, Queen of Scots to a delighted and amazed audience. She became a member of the school's Dramatic Club and went to Queen's Academy after finishing high school. It is not known how long she attended Queen's for (she began in 1890), but she intended to teach until she had saved up enough money to attend the School of Dramatic Expression in Kingsport.

1906-1907 school yearEdit

"Jem was beginning to grow away from them somewhat this spring. He was studying for the entrance examination of Queen's Academy and stayed after school with the older pupils for extra lessons. Also, his evenings were so full of work that he seldom joined the others in Rainbow Valley now. He seemed to be drifting away into grown-up land."
Rainbow Valley[src]

During the 1906-1907 school year, fourteen-year-old Jem Blythe studied for the entrance exams to Queen's Academy. In July 1907, he passed the exams and was accepted into Queen's. He turned fifteen in July 1907.

1907-1908 school yearEdit

"It would be Jem's last evening in Rainbow Valley. On the morrow he would leave for Charlottetown to attend Queen's Academy."
Rainbow Valley[src]

In September 1907, Jem Blythe left the Glen to study at Queen's. It is not known how long he studied for, but he began a Bachelor of Arts at Redmond in 1909. The evening before he left, he and the rest of the Rainbow Valley regulars (Walter, Nan, Di, Jerry, Faith, Una, Carl and Mary) spent time together there, and Walter had a vision of the Piper piping, which foreshadowed the Great War seven years later.

1908-1909 school yearEdit

It is possible that Walter Blythe began attending Queen's this year.

1909-1910 school yearEdit

Jerry Meredith may have started at Queen's this year, as he later attended Redmond.

1910-1911 school yearEdit

Faith Meredith, Nan Blythe and Diana Blythe may have begun Queen's this year (they were born in about 1895, so they would have been fifteen). All three girls went to Redmond, and Nan and Di both taught school for at least a year.

1913-1914 school yearEdit

"Carl Meredith and Shirley Blythe came home last Friday evening from Queen's Academy. We understand that Carl will be in charge of the school at Harbour Head next year and we are sure he will be a popular and successful teacher."
—The Glen "Notes"[src]

Both Carl Meredith and Shirley Blythe attended Queen's during this school year. This was Carl's last year of study (it is not known how long he attended Queen's for), and he left to become the teacher at the school at Four Winds Harbour Head. This was most likely Shirley's first year at Queen's.

1914-1915 school yearEdit

"About 1st September there was an exodus from Ingleside and the manse. Faith, Nan, Di and Walter left for Redmond; Carl betook himself to his Harbour Head school and Shirley was off to Queen's."
Rilla of Ingleside[src]

After the summer break, during which the First World War began, Shirley returned to Queen's to attend another year.

1915-1916 school yearEdit

This was Shirley's third year at Queen's.

1916-1917 school yearEdit

"Susan spoiled Shirley shamelessly that winter. He came home from Queen's every weekend, and Susan had all his favourite dishes for him, in so far as she could evade or wheedle the doctor, and waited on him hand and foot."
Rilla of Ingleside[src]

Shirley had always been Susan's favourite of the Blythe children, and this particularly showed when Shirley came to Ingleside every weekend during the winter of his fourth year at Queen's and she made his favourite dishes. In April 1917, just he turned eighteen, he joined the army, got into the flying corps and wrote home about it 'as coolly and matter-of-factly as he used to write of football at Queen's', Rilla said in her diary.[6] Therefore, he did not finish the year out at Queen's, and it is not known whether or not he returned for further study after the war's conclusion.

Curriculum analysisEdit

Reasons to attendEdit

"Josie Pye says she is just going to college for education's sake, because she won't have to earn her own living."
—Anne Shirley[src]

The concept of Queen's Academy, a teacher's college, may be confusing to some readers. To understand the system and purpose of Queen's, one must realise that there are several reasons why students may choose to attend, such as for education's sake (Josie Pye), to gain a teacher's licence and thus earn money (Jane Andrews), to become eligible to attend higher education (Charlie Sloane), to gain a head start on a college course (Stella Maynard) or a combination of any of these reasons (Anne Shirley).

It appears that one must graduate from Queen's or a similar institute (like Normal School in Bolingbroke) to attend university (such as Redmond College or McGill University), as no known student went to university straight from a village school or high school.

Age of studentsEdit

Most students, such as in the cases of Prissy Andrews, Anne Shirley, Leslie West and Jem Blythe, are about fifteen or sixteen years old when beginning their first year at Queen's. Others, such as Gilbert Blythe, may be older or younger for various reasons.

Entrance examinationsEdit

To enrol in Queen's, students must first take a series of examinations, referred to as the Entrance, in June. Students are tested in a variety of subjects, including English, English history, geometry, algebra, arithmetic, Latin and possibly French. If they pass, they can then begin attending Queen's in the new school year, in September. Preparation for the Entrance can take up to a year and a half, and may require staying after school for an hour to attend an advanced class, as Miss Stacy did with her students in Avonlea.

Study optionsEdit

Once the pass list is out and students have been accepted into the Academy, they can choose whether to try for a First Class provincial teacher's licence or a Second Class one, and how long they want to study at Queen's for. Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe and Leslie West, for example, spent a year at Queen's and did the Second Year work in order to get a First Class licence in one year instead of two. This arrangement has the benefit of cutting down on boarding fees, but it also means more and harder work immediately.

The easiest route, which Ruby Gillis and Jane Andrews took, is to spend a year at Queen's but only take up First Year work, which means only earning a Second Class licence by the end of the year. Either that, or students can take the First Year work followed by the Second Year work, therefore getting a First Class licence in two years. Josie Pye, Charlie Sloane and Moody Spurgeon MacPherson chose this route. In the 1881-1882 school year, some of the classes offered at Queen's were School Management, English and English Literature.

"But I'm going to give it [teaching] up, Anne dear, and go to college next year. As I took the third year at Queen's I can enter the Sophomore year."
—Stella in a letter to Anne[src]

There is also an option to take more than two years' worth of study at Queen's, perhaps even after a teacher's licence has already been obtained. Stella Maynard, for instance, took a third year after Anne left, which allowed her to enter her course at Redmond in her Sophomore (second) year. Alden Churchill, too, 'had gone to Queen's for three years'.[7] Shirley Blythe, too, apparently attended Queen's for almost four years, from 1913 to about April 1917, at least until he joined up to fight in the war. Although a teacher's college, Queen's still is a form of optional 'higher education'; not everyone who goes to Queen's will become a teacher later on.

Opportunities after leavingEdit

Diana: "You've done splendidly, Anne. I suppose you won't be teaching now that you've won the Avery?"
Anne: "No. I'm going to Redmond in September. Doesn't it seem wonderful? I'll have a brand new stock of ambition laid in by that time after three glorious, golden months of vacation. Jane and Ruby are going to teach. Isn't it splendid to think we all got through even to Moody Spurgeon and Josie Pye?"
Diana: "The Newbridge trustees have offered Jane their school already. Gilbert Blythe is going to teach, too. He has to. His father can't afford to send him to college next year, after all, so he means to earn his own way through."
―Anne and Diana before Matthew dies[src]

Anne Shirley intended to teach after leaving Queen's, in order to earn enough money to pay for Redmond, but she no longer had to do this after she won the Avery scholarship, which paid two hundred and fifty dollars a year for four years at Redmond College. (This changed after Matthew died and Anne had to forfeit the scholarship in order to stay with Marilla.) Gilbert Blythe, however, could not afford to go to Redmond straight away, so he took up teaching at White Sands for two years instead.

"Lewis Allen is going to McGill. Sophy Sinclair is going to Queen's. Then she means to teach until she has saved up enough money to go to the School of Dramatic Expression in Kingsport."
—Anne in a letter to Gilbert[src]

Lewis Allen spent a year at Queen's before attending McGill University in Montreal. Sophy Sinclair also intended to go to Queen's, then teach to save up enough money to attend the School of Dramatic Expression in Kingsport. Some years after originally attending Queen's, Katherine Brooke went to Redmond and spent a year in a secretarial course before landing a job as a private secretary to an MP.[8]


"Don't you remember what Professor Hamilton used to tell us in the literature class at Queen's? He said we were never to write a word for a low or unworthy motive, but always to cling to the very highest ideals."
—Anne Shirley to Gilbert Blythe[src]

In the 1881-1882 school year, at least for the Second Year classes, Professor Hamilton taught English Literature[9] and Professor Rennie taught School Management.[10] Professor Boyd lent Gilbert Blythe a book in 1882,[11] but it is not known what subject he taught. Professor Tremaine, according to Frank Stockley, predicted that Gilbert Blythe was sure to get the gold medal.[12]


Most students, with the exceptions of Gilbert and possibly Josie, are fifteen years old when they enter Queen's. This knowledge has been used to make educated guesses at some of the hazier details of attendance, such as Katherine Brooke's and some of the Blythes and Merediths'. Where it is unknown the number of years students studied for, two years has been entered as a likely guess. It is also unknown whether or not Jerry Meredith went to Queen's; however, it is very likely, as he later went to Redmond.

Some more possible students are Olivia Sloane and Jen Pringle, who are both said to be B.A.s, but have no mention of attending either Queen's or Redmond.


Book appearances

Short story appearances

Film appearances

Notes and referencesEdit

Boston · Charlottetown
Bonnyview · Echo Lodge · The Evergreens · Glen St. Mary manse · Green Gables
House of Dreams · Ingleside · Lone Willow Farm · Lynde's Hollow · Maplehurst · Mount Holly
Orchard Slope · Patty's Place · Tomgallon House · Windy Poplars · The Yellow House
Haunted Wood · Hester Gray's garden · Lake of Shining Waters · Lover's Lane · Rainbow Valley
Manitoba · New Brunswick · Nova Scotia · Ontario · Prince Edward Island · Saskatchewan
Avonlea school · Glen St. Mary school · Queen's Academy · Redmond College · Summerside High School
Bolingbroke · Grafton · Hopetown · Kingsport · Summerside
Avonlea · Carmody · Glen St. Mary · Harbour Head · Lowbridge · Millward
Newbridge · Scottsford · Spencervale · Upper Glen · White Sands
Avonlea Hall · Canada · Four Winds · Hammond Sawmill
Old St. John's Cemetery · Over-Harbour · Spook's Lane · Tomorrow

Start a Discussion Discussions about Queen's Academy

  • Ruby Gillis at Queen's Academy

    8 messages
    • Ok, I can ask Ahsoka.
    • I have an answer: Josie and Moody had passed the first year. Probably they have then studied the FCL. Charlie has studied two years...