The schedule for the 2015-2016 Franco-American Centre’s Speaker Series includes the following speakers and topics.

September 10th, 2015

”French-Canadians and military service”

Presented by Dr. Laurence Armand French in ENGLISH

The “conscription crisis” during the First World War reflected the intensity of alienation of French Canadians from both English Canada and Great Britain when Canadians were drafted to serve under Great Britain during the war.  The problem arose when an anti-Catholic Ulsterman was appointed as Minister of Militia and Protestant clergymen were assigned as recruiting officers in Quebec, resulting in riots in 1916.  Nonetheless, WWI also led to the creation of the Canadian Corps as a separate military force within the United Kingdom allowing a greater liaison with the United States, a factor critical to North American security during and following World War II.  French Canadians, in both Canada and New England, readily served during the Second World War from 1939 to 1945, and in subsequent conflicts, with many cross-border enlistments.  Military fraternal organization like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) provided crucial support groups for Franco-American veterans that served to break down class, religious, and ethnic divides.  New England, in general, and New Hampshire, in particular, reflected this critical milestone that allowed French Canadians to solidify their position in the Unites States as proud Franco-Americans.

*French, native of New Hampshire is the author of Frog Town: Portrait of a French Canadian Parish in New England (University Press of America, 2014).

November 12th, 2015

“Two Anselmian Students in France”

Presented by Sarah Dalton and Rebecca Mullin, students of Saint Anselm in ENGLISH

Sarah Dalton and Rebecca Mullin will be lecturing on the “New Paris” and how France today compares to our classic ideas of the popular nation. Their lecture will draw from their recent experiences studying abroad in Paris and will also touch on how their time in the city of lights affected their views on Franco-American relations today.

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January 14th, 2016 

“The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company: A History of Enterprise on the Merrimack River”

Presented by Aurore Eaton in ENGLISH

The new book by local author Aurore Eaton, The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company: A History of Enterprise on the Merrimack River, tells the story of the powerful corporation that created the vast mill yard that stretches for over a mile along the banks of the Merrimack in Manchester. The company’s products included the famous Amoskeag ginghams, the denim used to make the first Levis blue jeans, steam locomotives, steam fire engines, and rifle-muskets for the Union Army during the Civil War. The book tells how the Amoskeag developed Manchester as a planned city, and highlights its labor history, including the influx of immigrant workers, the controversial reality of child labor, and the devastating effect of strikes. Published by History Press, the book includes numerous photographs from the Manchester Historic Association collections.

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March 10th, 2016

Elphège-J. Daignault et le mouvement sentinelliste à Manchester, New Hampshire
Présenté en FRANÇAIS par
Robert B. Perreault

Au cours des décennies qui suivent l’émigration de milliers de Canadiens Français à la Nouvelle-Angleterre, il se produit plusieurs conflits entre ceux-ci et la hierarchie du clergé catholique, dominée par les Irlandais Américains, au sujet de la fondation et de la  gérance d’institutions paroissiales de langue française. En général, ce sont des luttes autour du maintient de la langue française chez les émigrés vis-à-vis le désir du haut clergé irlandais de créer une Église catholique uniformément anglo-américaine.

Sans doute, la crise la plus longue, aiguë et mieux connue est celle du Mouvement sentinelliste durant les années 1920. Sous le direction d’Elphège-J. Daignault de Woonsocket, Rhode Island, fondateur du journal La Sentinelle, le Mouvement sentinelliste est une révolte contre Mgr William Hickey, évêque de Providence, qui favorise la fondation d’écoles secondaires diocésaines à caractère linguistique plutôt anglophone, faisant donc concurrence aux écoles paroissiales franco-américaines du même niveau. En fin de compte, Daignault et une soixantaine de ses partisans se feront excommunier de l’Église catholique pour leurs activités sentinellistes.

Quoique le noyau du Mouvement sentinelliste soit situé au Rhode Island, il y aura des retombées de cette crise à travers la Nouvelle-Angleterre, en particulier, dans le Diocèse de Manchester, New Hampshire, où Daignault est également président général de l’Association Canado-Américaine (ACA). Cette conférence examine une série d’éditoriaux que Daignault publie au sujet des activités dans ce diocèse, et surtout dans la paroisse Saint-Georges de Manchester qui, selon lui, défavorisent la langue française et la culture franco-américaine.

Cliquez ici pour l’heure et la location

May 12th, 2016 

“The Cabot Mill and Brunswick, Maine’s Franco-Americans”

Presented by David Vermette (Maryland), in ENGLISH

David Vermette, Franco-American researcher, writer and blogger, details the development of the Franco-American community in Brunswick, Maine and the history of the textile mill that began to bring French-Canadians to Brunswick in the mid-19th century:

  • Reasons for the exodus from rural Québec
  • Chain migration from L’Islet, QC to Brunswick
  • Conditions in the company-owned housing
  • The background of the Boston Brahmin mill owners
  • The steps the Franco-Americans took to improve their lot in adverse conditions


This talk includes research and graphics never before published.

Click here for time and location