Category Archives: Brunswick

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 […]

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 […]