Why a Young Man Should Serve

Pride. Character. Betterment. A few of the reasons Aimée McDuff of Brunswick gave his friend Philias Morin for his enlistment in the US Army in the fall of 1917.  McDuff, a Franco-American, enlisted in the Engineer Corps, but transferred to the Medical Corps where his ability to speak French was highly valued. McDuff’s letter was written from […]

“The Hour is Critical” – Franco-Americans in the Great War

Our element, like all others, maybe even more than all others – bound by tradition and character – must get involved, and cooperate. Such was the firm pronouncement of La Justice of Biddeford, Maine, on its front page for April 12, 1917, just a few days after the US Congress had declared war on Germany. The prominent column, entitled […]

A New England Mardi Gras – The International Snowshoe Convention of 1925

“Fun for all, and all for fun,” was the verdict of one local newspaper; “a Mardi Gras” reminiscent of the pre-prohibition era, according to another. On the weekend of 7-8 February, 1925, eight hundred French Canadian snowshoers descended on the city of Lewiston, Maine (population 30,000), for two days of revelry and winter sports. The festivities, […]

Franco-American Holiday Traditions

“Je vous souhaite une bonne et heureuse année, une bonne santé, et le paradis à la fin de vos jours”   With those words, or variations thereof, generations of French Canadians and Franco-Americans have welcomed in hundreds of New Years. The New Years blessing is traditionally given by the patriarch of the family – the […]