The University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American collection is one of the largest repositories of Franco-American archival material in the State of Maine. The Collection’s holdings cover local history, government, religion, language, education, industry, sports and the arts. 

The mission of the University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American Collection is to preserve and promote the culture and heritage of Maine’s Franco-American population.

The Collection focuses on Lewiston-Auburn and other areas of Maine, with additional regional materials providing a link to the wider contexts of French North America.

You may want to begin by exploring the Collection.  Or learn more about the Collection and Maine's Franco-Americans below:

News & Events

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a $10,477 Common Heritage Grant to the Franco-American Collection, located at USM's Lewiston-Auburn College. The focus of the grant will be a one-day digitization event targeted at preserving cultural heritage materials related to military experiences - at war and on the home front - of members of Maine's Franco-American population, the state's largest ethnic group. The grant will also support a speaker series addressing the history of Franco-American military service. The theme of military service will help the public explore questions of identity and loyalty, which attended Maine's Franco-American population from its early days.
Janet Roberts is the new Coordinator for the Franco-American Collection at USM's Lewiston-Auburn College.
Listen to the interview online, as well as interviews with the US organizers of the World Acadian Congress and mezzo soprano Mélanie Saucier of Fort Kent.

Tuesday, May 17, kicks off "Franco-Americans During Wartime: A Heritage of Service"

The Franco-American Collection will be hosting a talk by Mary Rice-DeFosse at 7:00 pm, May 17, in Room 170 of USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College.  Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project celebrates and preserves the history of Franco-Americans who served during wartime.

Tuesday night's talk is the first of three, with the other talks taking place in September and October.  Ms. DeFosse will discuss how military service was a way for Franco-Americans to develop their evolving sense of identity.  At the same time, their ability to speak French was a valuable asset in some of the theaters of war.   Using historical materials, she will highlight stories of several veterans, some of whose paths took an unexpected turn.

The project culminates with a Digitization Day in November, when members of the public will be able to bring in historical materials related to Franco-American wartime activities (any war) to be digitized.  The materials will be scanned or photographed, and, if they wish, participants can donate a digital copy to the Collection.  The original materials will be returned to them, and they will receive a digital copy to take home.

The program is free.  Light refreshments will be served, and the Collection will be open half an hour before the talk, at 6:30.  USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College is located at 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston.  For more information call Janet Roberts at 207-753-6545 or email janet.roberts@.maine.edu.

Digital Commons

Digital commons logo

The Franco-American Collection is participating in USM's Digital Commons initiative.  Read digitized items from the Collection online, for free.

Giving to the Collection

Researchers working at the Franco-American Collection.

The operation of the Franco-American Collection, its educational programs and the preservation of its materials are dependent on your generosity. 

Find out more about giving to the Collection through the University of Southern Maine. 

Under "Gift Details," click on "Gifts to specific...".  In the pop-up box, click the first box "Other..." then "Continue." That will take you back to the main form but now you will be able to write in "Franco-American Collection" to direct your donation correctly.

Learn More

Connect With Us