Maine Franco-American writer and educator.
There are also several other books that would give the story of Maine's Franco-American mill working women, such as the book of translations of early Franco-American women writers to be found in the translated volume, Canuck and Other Stories. Two of the stories, written by Lewiston women, tell of the immigration experiences of the women and then the play, Françaises d'Amérique, Frenchwomen of North America, depicts the stories of the heroines who helped settle New France. The play's author is the "Helen Keller" of Canada who greatly effected the curriculum for the deaf in Canada. She won many honors for her work and her writing throughout her lifetime. Camille Lessard Bissonnette, who worked in the Continental Mill, wrote a column for the working women in the mills for Le Messager, the French language newspaper in Lewiston--she was pro-vote for women and modern in her views. She addresses many aspects of the immigration experience in her book, Canuck, which was a title she chose and I thought important to honor and continue. These women were part of the literary landscape of Maine and Quebec and are important in telling these stories. Academic and community women of Maine translated the French into English to make these volumes available to those who could not read the French. More info:
Canuck and Other Stories
Rhea Côté Robbins, Editor
Canuck, by Camille Lessard Bissonnette, (1883-1970),
translated by Sue Huseman and Sylvie Charron,
is a book which reflects the French Canadian immigration
experience from a young woman's point of view.
The protagonist, Vic, is a very modern young
woman who sets out to accomplish
many things in her new country, the U.S.
La Jeune Franco-Américaine, The Young Franco-American
by Alberte Gastonguay, (1906-1978),
translated by Madeleine C. Paré Roy,
is a study of the life of a young woman
who is seeking her way in the world.
She meets many suitors and comes to the
conclusion of a satisfactory ending
in the ways of traditional culture.
Françaises d'Amérique, Frenchwomen of North America
by Corinne Rocheleau Rouleau, (1881-1963),
translated by Jeannine Bacon Roy,
is a one act play which features the heroines
who helped settle New France.
This play proves their presence
on the North American continent
and is as fresh today as the day it was first presented.
I just want to add this thought to this work: The "Mr. Dexter Shoes" of Maine--hundreds of companies historically, and companies to the present day, did not, does not achieve their wealth or "greatness" if it were not for the labor force that gave the "mill owners" their "prestige" and "power." My grandfather and my father worked their entire lives in the now x-paper company in Winslow; my mother worked at the now x-Hathaway Shirt Factory and my mother-in-law as well...I could go on and on listing people I know who did this work...but we all know of "rich" folks making their wealth off the labor of the workers depicted in the murals...there is NO division of labor and management/ownership. I want to see any company be successful without its labor force...