The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine will hold the state’s first Franco-American History Fair at its Lewiston-Auburn College campus in Lewiston on Saturday, June 21, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The fair will feature exhibits from Maine historical societies, libraries, museums, and genealogical groups that have a Franco-American connection. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit exhibitors’ booths, ask questions of experts, and purchase items. The event is free.
For generations, Franco-Americans have been the largest ethnic community in Maine. Sixty percent of the population of Lewiston has French Canadian ancestry. The primary workers for the textile mills in Lewiston after 1890 were French Canadians from Quebec or Acadians from New Brunswick and the Maritimes who came by the hundreds to seek a better living.
The University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American Collection is one of the largest repositories of Franco-American archival material in the State of Maine. The Collection’s holdings cover local history, government, religion, language, education, industry, sports and the arts. The mission of the University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American Collection is to preserve and promote the culture and heritage of Maine’s Franco-American population. The Collection focuses on Lewiston-Auburn and other areas of Maine, with additional regional materials providing a link to the wider contexts of French North America.