New Stuff

Franco-American history series revisted

Class portrait showing the 6th grade class of St. Joseph's School, Biddeford for 1943. 27 girls and 2 nuns in habits.
Image 3154. Sixth grade class of St. Joseph’s School, Biddeford, 1943 (27 girls and 2 nuns, none are identified)

In 1972-1973 the Journal published a series of articles by the excellent Franco-American historian, Michael Guignard. This was prior to the publication of his unequaled work, “La Foi – La Langue – La Culture: The Franco-Americans of Biddeford, Maine”. I came across this series while searching for articles on Israel Shevenell this week, and I wanted to bring them to light so they can be read and enjoyed by all again.

Articles in the series

“French-Canadians First Came To Biddeford In The 1830’s, ” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 11, 1972.

“Israel Shevenell Was Biddeford’s First French Voter,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 18, 1972.

“Controversy Marked The Early History Of St. Joseph’s Parish,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 25, 1972.

“Pastors Were Tenacious In Building Up St. Joseph’s Parish,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 1, 1972.

“St. Andre’s Parish Reveres Monseigneur Decary’s Memory,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 8, 1972.

“Parochial Schools Were Established To Preserve French Culture,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 15, 1972.

“Parish Schools Add Teeth to Discipline,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 22, 1972.

“Early Parochial Students Had To Forget Their Age,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Sep. 29, 1972.

“St. Louis High School Felt Financial Pinch,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Oct. 6, 1972.

“Parochial Schools Are On The Wane,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Oct. 16, 1972.

“High School Students Had To Go To Canada,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Oct. 30, 1972.

“Alumni Did Much For St. Louis High School,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Nov. 18, 1972.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Press Preserver Of Traditions,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 16, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Protestants Behind Local Paper,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 17, 1973.

“Early Publications Short-Lived,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 18, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Mr. Zero Famous Native Son ,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 19, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: ‘La Justice’ Spanned Half Century,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 20, 1973.

“French-Canadian Newspapers: Editor Bonneau Multi-Talented,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Jul. 21, 1973.

“In La Justice: Anti-Yankee Views Explored,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 17, 1973.

“La Justice Dealt With Behavior,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 18, 1973.

“La Justice Tells: Discipline Is Key To Child Rearing,” Biddeford-Saco Journal (Biddeford, ME), Aug. 20, 1973.


The Jefferson Street Church will live on (at the library!)

Well, by now I think everyone in town is well aware of the sad state of this building, and that in the near future it will no longer be a part of our cityscape. [For the record, I got to go inside it to take some pictures when I heard it was coming down, and folks, it was SCARY BAD in there. Sometimes you just have to know when to start fresh, and *this* fervent history lover agrees that this was the right thing to do here.]  

This, friends, is why we work to create and preserve a rich historical record of our dear city. If you’re interested in learning about this building, and the people associated with it, you know where to come.

  • The online History Index refers to numerous stories which appeared in the local papers about this church (scroll down to look under CHURCHES–FREE WILL BAPTIST and further on under  CHURCHES–UNITED BAPTIST.)
  • We have images up on Maine Memory Network of the church in 1955 and the reverend who was serving in 1895, Rev. Musgrove (who just happens to look kind of like Gerald McRaney–remember Simon & Simon?!?)
  • And just this week I digitized our copy of the Jefferson Street Baptist Church directory from 1926 and added it to our growing library of archival resources on the Internet Archive, which is fully downloadable and readable in multiple formats.

This is just a taste of what we have, and you can access even more here at the library (especially the newspaper articles, which are usually a treasure trove of information). We continue to try and to pull even more resources together to add to our “BUILDINGS + BLOCKS” binder, to make it easier for folks to locate materials which may live in several different collections.

In any event, be assured that there are people who are working to make sure that as time moves forward, one will be able to look back on where we have come from.

The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.  ~Harry S. Truman