Franco-American Collection

Winter Book Discussion Series, November - January

The Franco-American Collection will be hosting three authors at USM LAC as part of a winter book discussion series.  Each session will include readings by the authors, discussion of their creative process, and time for questions from the audience.  Naturally, an emphasis on the books' Franco-American themes will prevail.  The scheduled readings are as follows:

 Download an event flyer (PDF).

November 21, 2-3 p.m.  

Denis Ledoux, Business Boy to Business Man and We Were Not Spoiled

Denis Ledoux will be talking about his two recently-published works, "Business Boy to Business Man" and "We Were Not Spoiled," memoirs of his uncle, Robert Verreault, and mother, Lucille Verreault Ledoux, respectively.  Robert Verreault founded the Lewiston Machine Shop in 1946 (later the Diamond Machine Company).  In 1972, the company's facility (and inventory) on River Road was destroyed in a fire, but Verreault went on to rebuild, and was awarded the title of Maine Small Business Man of the Year in 1975.

The second of Ledoux's memoirs is that of his mother, Lucille Verreault Ledoux, "We Were Not Spoiled."  The book chronicles the life of a Maine girl born in 1921 through to 1951.  Lucille was typical of many Franco-Americans of her generation, and this memoir is another addition to the corpus of Franco-American memoirs that adds to our historical understanding.

Denis Ledoux runs the Memoir Network, an organization which helps people to chronicle their lives in writing.

More information on Business Boy to Business Man and We Were Not Spoiled.


December 19, 2-3 p.m.

Rhea Coté Robbins: Down the Plains

Following on from her first memoir, Wednesday's Child, Robbin's second autobiography chronicles her childhood in Waterville's "Plains" neighborhood - the equivalent of the Petit Canada found in so many New England towns.  Rhea Côté Robbins was brought up bilingually in a Franco-American neighborhood in Waterville, Maine known as 'down the Plains.'  She attended Waterville High School and graduated in 1971.  Her maman came from Wallagrass, a town in the northern part of the state and her father was from Waterville.  Tracing the family tree back, on both sides of her parents, she found that in Québec their people settled in close proximity to each other, and on a further search into their origins in France, she discovered that in the 1600s they lived within ten miles or less of each other.   

Robbins does research on French heritage women and their contributions and is Director of the Franco-American Women's Institute.  She is the author of " 'down the Plains,'" "Wednesday's Child," and editor of "Canuck and Other Stories."

More information on Down the Plains.


January 16, 2-3 p.m.

Joseph Conforti, Another City Upon a Hill

This gripping memoir is both a personal story and a portrait of a distinctive New England place—Fall River, Massachusetts, once the cotton cloth capital of America. Growing up, Joseph Conforti’s world was defined by rolling hills, granite mills, and forests of triple-deckers. Conforti, whose mother was Portuguese and whose father was Italian, recounts how he negotiated those identities in a city where ethnic heritage mattered. Paralleling his own account, Conforti shares the story of his family, three generations of Portuguese and Italians who made their way in this once-mighty textile city, which was also home to many Franco-Americans.

Joseph Conforti is Professor Emeritus of New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine.

More information on Another City Upon a Hill


For more information on any of the events, contact the Collection.