LEWISTON – Vronique St. Martin of Montmagny, Quebec, is researching local Franco-American history at the Franco-American Collection at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College.

St. Martin was born in Montmagny, a town of 13 000 people, about an hour southeast of Quebec City. In 2000, she began to study linguistics and writing at Laval University in Quebec City. She obtained her diploma in 2004. This year, she joined the ranks of the Cooprative de services aux crivains de la Cte-du-Sud, a publishing enterprise, as a part-time copy editor.

Knowing her interest for history and wanting to create a full-time job for St. Martin, the president of the cooperative, Franoise De Montigny Pelletier, developed a project with the Canadian Museum Association for the publication of a heritage booklet for youth.

In addition to the administrative tasks at the cooperative, St. Martin explored the market for youth publications and its financing. As part of her project, she had to complete a monthlong internship outside of Canada to explore the market for young readers. The president chose the Franco-American Collection at USM/L-A because of the region’s common history with Quebec.

At the Franco-American Collection, St. Martin has researched Franco-American history, examined historical documents and interviewed young and old residents of Lewiston-Auburn about this subject.

She has also translated texts in the collection and transcribed taped French interviews of Franco-Americans, including the reminiscences of Adlard Janelle.

The Franco-American Collection is the largest repository of Franco-American archival material in the state, with material on history, politics, religion, education, industry, business, theater and music.

Located in a modern climate-controlled facility, the collection includes a state-of-the-art archival storage unit designed to preserve the documents, news clippings, photographs and artifacts about Franco-American history and culture. In addition, the collection houses the Madeleine Giguere Reading Room, which includes a large selection of books concerning the French presence in North America.

The collection is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays. Call 753-6545 for more information, or visit the Web site at usm.maine.edu/lac/franco.

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