Category Archives: Maine

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 […]

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. […]