Franco collection gets book donation


LEWISTON – The Franco-American Collection at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College has recently received a significant donation of books documenting the French presence in North America from Assumption College’s D’Alzon Library and its French Institute. Most of the publications are in French, though some are bilingual or in English. Many are rare or out of print.

Subjects include histories of New France, Acadia and Lower Canada; folk songs and folklore; poetry, novels and theater; and local histories on Franco-Americans in other New England states.

Of local interest is a book titled “Les Franco-Américain’s peints par eux-mmes” (1936), which has an article written by former Lewiston mayor Louis-Philippe Gagné and another, which includes biographical sketches of two well known local Francos: Adélard Janelle and George Filteau.

Of broader statewide interest are several books concerning Maine’s early ties with Acadia. For instance, “L’Acadie des Anctres” (1955) lists many family names of the first settlers of Acadia, including the ancestors of many current Lewiston-Auburn residents: Comeau, Cormier, Cyr, Daigle, Doucet, Hébert, Landry, Leblanc, Morin, to name a few.

The lives of two Jesuit missionaries, Gabriel Druillettes and Sébastien Rale, who roamed the no-man’s land of Maine in the 17th century in search of Abenaki converts to Catholicism and allies for France, are recounted in “L’Acadie et ses 40 Robes Noires.”

“This wonderful donation of books from Assumption College compliments our already sizable holdings on the French race in North America.” said Donat Boisvert, coordinator of the Franco-American Collection.