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

Francophonie Logo
The Semaine de la Francophonie ("Week of the Francophone Community") is an annual celebration of French-speaking cultures around the world. March 20th is the international day of the Francophonie.
The Collection's 2014 Spring lecture series, coordinated with USM faculty, links the Franco-American past and present. Events in the series examine Franco-American politics, labor history, and gender roles, as well as Franco-Somali relations in the 21st century. The series is made possible by the University of Maine System's Diversity Committee.
Pejepscot Historical Society Logo
The Pejepscot Historical Society, based in Brunwick, has announced two speaker series for winter/spring 2014: an evening lecture series on the theme of the French-Canadians who immigrated to the Brunswick area and elsewhere in Maine in the nineteenth century and a noontime “brown bag” series on a variety of local history topics.

French Sing-Along Session

French Sing-Along Session

Event Date and Time: 
Friday, September 20, 2013, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, October 18, 2013, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, November 15, 2013, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, January 17, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, March 21, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, April 25, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, May 16, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Location: 
Room 170, USM LAC, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston
Contact Name: 
James Myall
Contact Phone: 
2077536545
Contact Email: 
franco@usm.maine.edu

Join USM's Franco-American Collection for an hour of favorite French and French-Canadian tunes.  Words are provided so fluency in French is not required.  All are welcome. 

Free and open to the public.

April 25, 2014
1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Room 170, USM LAC, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston

Movie Screening - "Down By the River's Edge"

Movie Screening - "Down By the River's Edge"

Event Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Location: 
USM LAC Room 170
Contact Name: 
James Myall
Contact Phone: 
2077536545
Contact Email: 
jmyall@usm.maine.edu

TheFranco-American Collection will be screening the documentary Down by The River’s Edge Thursday May 1st at 9 am in room 170 of USM LAC. 

The movie includes images and stories shared by papermakers who were deeply affected by the 2009 closing of Otis Mill where over 200 papermakers lost their jobs. The documentary is also a treasured collection of heartfelt stories recounted by retired paper makers, from the 1890’s through the 1920’s, of their immigrant fathers and grandfathers seeking employment at the Otis Mill in the village of Chisholm, Maine; wedged between the Western Foothills of Maine and the powerful Androscoggin River. The film also details the French-Canadian immigration during the early 1850's, to Farmington, where they first came to work as seasonal farm laborers, walking down through the Old Canada Road. 

Men left their families behind sometimes for years, leaving their homes in Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces of Canada; across the Atlantic from Italy, Czechoslovakia and Ireland seeking and finding employment in the developing paper industry until earning enough money to bring their families to the region. Their lives woven into the trinity of their new community; the Otis Mill, the Androscoggin River and the St. Rose of Lima Church, where these new immigrants practiced their devout Roman Catholic faith and built the brick and mortar of their new community.

Film maker, Susan Gagnon, who filmed and wrote the script, narrates a collage of images from her childhood living in a three-decker tenement building, a stone’s throw away from the Otis Mill where all the men in her family worked.

Here in Lewiston-Auburn we tend to associate Franco-Americans with the textile and shoe industries.  But, as this movie demonstrates, Franco-American communities exist all across the State of Maine, and they were drawn here for a variety of reasons – from the farm-laborers and paper-mill-workers depicted here, to shipbuilders, lumberjacks and everything in between.  Down by The River’s Edge is a nice insight into a different aspect of Franco-American history.

The event is part of the Franco-American Collection’s Spring Lecture series, organized in partnership with USM LAC faculty and made possible by support from the University of Maine System’s Diversity Committee. 

The movie screening (1 hour) will be followed by a Q & A with the film-maker, Susan Gagnon.

The event is free and open to the public. 

May 1, 2014
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
USM LAC Room 170

French Sing-Along Session

French Sing-Along Session

Event Date and Time: 
Friday, September 20, 2013, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, October 18, 2013, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, November 15, 2013, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, January 17, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, March 21, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, April 25, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Friday, May 16, 2014, 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Location: 
Room 170, USM LAC, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston
Contact Name: 
James Myall
Contact Phone: 
2077536545
Contact Email: 
franco@usm.maine.edu

Join USM's Franco-American Collection for an hour of favorite French and French-Canadian tunes.  Words are provided so fluency in French is not required.  All are welcome. 

Free and open to the public.

May 16, 2014
1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Room 170, USM LAC, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston

Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame

Maine State House

Since 2002 the Maine State Legislature has officially inducted dozens of people into Maine's Franco-American Hall of Fame.  For the first team, biographies of each of the inductees are available in one place - read them here.

Cher Futur

Madeleine Giguere

Contribute to our 2052 time capsule with a message for the Franco-American community of the future.  You can also read messages that have already been left.  What does being Franco-American mean to you?  What are your hopes for the future?

Giving to the 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. 

Please select "specific College/school funds", followed by "other", and specifiy "Franco-American Collection" to direct your donation correctly.

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