Category Archives: Maine

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 […]

Confronting the Klan in 1920s Maine

The history of Maine’s brief, but intense, association with the Ku Klux Klan is becoming increasingly well-known. Along with a large portion of the country in the early 1920’s, Maine was home to a Klan chapter with a significant membership, which held significant sway over local politics. While the Klan had its beginnings with former […]

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. […]

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 […]