of the Franco-American Collection which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Collection began as a high school project at St. Dominic High School and grew to become part of a community cultural heritage organization before it was given to USM when the Lewiston-Auburn College opened in 1988. The program is open to the public.
The USM LAC's Franco-American Collection is one of the largest repositories of Franco-American archival material in the State of Maine. The Collection's over 15, 000 items cover Maine's textile mills and shoe shops, in addition to local history, government, religion, language, education, industry, sports and the arts. Depicting Franco-American daily life and culture, it represents the past 40 plus years. Some highlights you will see are the handsome gray and scarlet uniform of Le Club Montagnard Raquetteur, the first snow shoe club in the U.S. established in 1924; as well as uniforms of other snow shoe clubs, photos of the ice palaces in Lewiston City Park (now the Kennedy Park,) microfilm of Le Messager, the local French newspaper formed by Louis Philippe Gagne, film clips of snowshoe and St Jean-Baptiste parades in Lewiston-Auburn, theater programs from shows like Les Cloches de Corneville and Le Club Musical-Litteraire, hand-written recipes, WWI diaries, a 1900 journal of a Dominican Nun,1900, a music collection with hundreds of recordings and examples of French sheet music, and the Minutes, membership lists and photographs from dozens of L/A Franco clubs and businesses.
Myall will give an overview of the Collection and explain how it is used for students, academics and members of the community to tell the story of Maine's Franco-Americans. He will also highlight some of his favorite photos and artifacts from the Collection.
Myall taught a class on French North America this fall semester covering the time period 1600 to the present and included the area of Quebec, Louisiana, New England and Haiti. He holds an M.A. in Ancient History and Archaeology and is proficient in French. He works with local organizations like Museum L/A, the Franco Center and the Androscoggin Historical Society, and organizes regular Franco-American events like the popular monthly French sing-alongs.
In addition to managing the Collection and teaching classes at Senior College, he also teaches at USM LAC in the Arts and Humanities. Originally from the UK, James and his American wife, Kate, have been living in Maine since 2009. They have a one year-old daughter, Aurelia and live in Topsham.
Senior College, now in its 15th year, presents the monthly 11:30 luncheon program in the Function Room 170 at USM LAC. The cost, which includes lunch, is $7 with advance reservation or $8 at the door. Reservations must be made by noon on January 9 by calling 753-6510. Any late callers will be considered "at the door."