LEWISTON — The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston Auburn College will receive $1000 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, through a grant administered by the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board, to preserve and provide better access to its historical collections.

The Historical Records Collections Grant, which is coordinated in Maine by the State Archives, has been awarded to the Franco-American Collection to preserve a large donation of surveyors’ charts, building plans and topographical maps it received from the estate of the late Vincent Leblanc.

“We are grateful both to Mr. Leblanc’s nephew, John Myrand, for donating the charts, and to the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board for awarding us this grant,” said collection coordinator James Myall. “These funds will make it possible for us to properly store and protect this unique history of construction in the area.”

The Leblanc maps, which will be made available to researchers this summer, contain thousands of drawings and blueprints by Leblanc during his decades-long career as a surveyor, from the 1940s to the time of his recent passing.

The hundreds of clients represented in the donation include local businesses, town and county governments, churches, post offices and civic organizations. The most unusual item discovered so far is a 1944 tracing of an 1857 map of Lewiston.

“These maps and charts span a crucial period of Lewiston’s development from an industrial hub to a service-based economy,” said Myall. “Our hope is that researchers will be able to use this donation to tell the story of a city in transition.”

USM’s Franco-American collection is one of the largest repositories of Franco-American archival material in the state. The collection’s holdings cover local history, government, religion, language, education, industry, sports and the arts. It is located at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College, 51 Westminster St.

For more information, call James Myall at 753-6545, email [email protected] or visitwww.usm.maine.edu/franco.

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