Category Archives: Education

A Rough First Week of School for Lewiston’s Dominican Sisters

In 1903, Father Alexandre-Lousi Mothon, the curé of the Dominican monastery in Lewiston, wrote to the community of Dominican Sisters of Nancy, in France, asking them to send a some of their members to Maine to teach the Franco-American children of Lewiston. Initially, the children of the city’s French Canadian immigrants were educated by lay […]

Your Immigrant Ancestors Needed Public Assistance, Too

Poor Farm, Biddeford, 1910

A common refrain of those complaining about immigrants is that they are “takers” or “gaming the system.” Among Americans with their own immigrant histories, the complaint sometimes becomes “my ancestors didn’t need welfare. They worked for everything they had.” This kind of rhetoric is not only exclusionary and prejudiced, it’s also factually inaccurate. There are […]

Augusta’s Public School for “French Scholars” Blighted by Truancy, Sickness, and Child Labor

In 1886, the school board of the city of Augusta noted that as more French Canadians were coming to the city, they were increasingly bringing their families with them, or starting families in their new homeland. As a result, the committee recommended that these young “French scholars” be educated in the city’s public school system. […]