The Year Maine Went Mad – the Know Nothingism of 1854-5

A political realignment. Promises to drain the swamp and put Americans first. Attacks, both verbal and physical, on immigrants and minorities. In 1854 and 1855, Maine, like much of the country, was shaken by the rise of the Know-Nothing movement. Its anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic rhetoric overturned state politics and spilled over into mob violence. For […]

Franco Bakers Brought the Tastes of Home to Little Canada

There’s nothing quite like the taste of grandma’s cooking. This holiday season, tens of thousands of Mainers will be enjoying mémère’s tourtière, cretons, or perhaps even pets de soeurs. For immigrants of all backgrounds, food is an important link to home and family, as well as a way of maintaining traditions or future generations. That’s why so […]

This Country is Big Enough and Rich Enough for Everyone:” A Plea for Tolerance from Lewiston-Auburn’s Jews

On April 29 1892, Solomon Robitscheck wrote to Lewiston’s Le Messager objecting to the newspaper’s characterization of the city’s small population of Jewish peddlers. Two weeks earlier, Le Messager had published an editorial reprimanding Franco Americans who purchased items from the peddlers. Le Msssager’s argument was primarily economic – Franco Americans should patronize Franco owned […]