Enjoying the Long Weekend? Thank Franco-Americans for New Year’s Day

  New Year’s Day (le jour de l’an) is traditionally a special holiday for Franco-Americans, with a history stretching back through Canada and France. Some American observers thought it resembled Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one day that held religious, familial, and social significance. A reporter for the Lewiston (Maine) Evening Journal visited a Franco-American family in […]

The Loup-Garou

  Part werewolf, part vampire, he goes by many names. The most common is the Loup-Garou, but others call him rougarou; in the Caribbean, a cousin – the Loogaroo – is a blood-sucking, shape-shifting old woman. A recurring character in French and Francophone folklore, the Loup-Garou story has been passed through many French-Canadian generations in […]

Poetry from the Lewiston Mills of 1909

In the early twentieth century, thousands of children worked in Maine’s manufacturing industries – in textile mills, shoe shops, granite quarries, and sardine canneries. These children faced dangerous working conditions, worked long hours, and missed out on the opportunity for an education. Although the state did pass a series of laws to regulate child labor, these […]

LePage’s Comments Remind Us that Civil Rights History Isn’t Just Blue and Grey

Maine Governor Paul LePage once again made national headlines for his defense of President Trump – and by extension, of confederate monuments – when he claimed that 7,600 Mainers fought for the Confederacy. That unsubstantiated claim appears to be off by a magnitude of several hundred, since the known number of Maine Copperheads is around […]

For French Scientist-Priests, Eclipses Were Teachable Moments

In 1616, one of the most famous conflicts between science and faith occurred in Rome. The Italian scientist Galileo, who had built on the work of Dutch astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, was being challenged by the Inquisition of the Catholic Church. An inquisitorial commission found unanimously that the theory of heliocentrism was not only “foolish and […]