The French Institute continues to acquire material within the scope of its mission. The director makes relevant purchases within the limitations of the annual budget. The Institute also accepts donations from institutions and individuals.
Donations normally consist of publications and archival documents, although artifacts are occasionally included. If the French Institute is unable to display or store artifacts properly, they may be offered to the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Publications are examined to ensure that they fall within the Institute’s purview and to identify duplicates.
Any donated work already owned by the French Institute or d’Alzon Library is considered a duplicate. Although the d’Alzon collection circulates freely and the French Institute collection does not, space constraints prevent the Institute from acquiring books that are already available at Assumption University.
D’Alzon Library’s collection includes the personal library and papers of Major Edmond Mallet (1842-1907), a Franco-American Civil War veteran from Oswego, New York, who served as Inspector General for Indian Affairs under President Grover Cleveland. In 1913, six years after Major Mallet’s death, the Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Amérique (USJB), a mutual aid society for Americans of French-Canadian ancestry, acquired his collection. In March 2004, the USJB, now part of Catholic Financial Life, gifted the collection to the d’Alzon Library. Items in the Mallet Collection do not circulate.
Out-of-scope materials are those that do not pertain directly to the French Institute’s goal of documenting the French presence in North America. Continental French literature, history, and theological writings are considered out-of-scope unless they deal specifically with North American themes. French-Canadian and French-Caribbean literature and history are considered relevant; however, they have a lower priority than materials relating to New England.
Duplicates and out-of-scope materials will be offered to other institutions or individuals, either for sale or free of charge, whenever possible. Remaining materials will be discarded. In the past, such materials have been acquired by the d’Alzon Library, Brown University, Yale University, the University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine at Orono, the Université Sainte-Anne, the French American Genealogical Society, and La Librairie Populaire of Manchester, New Hampshire, among others.
The French Institute follows the academic calendar of Assumption University. Exceptions to our regular hours may be found here.
For reasons of preservation, French Institute collection materials do not circulate; however, non-rare materials are allowed to circulate through the d’Alzon Library or inter-library loan with the director’s permission.
It should be noted that the Institute’s collection includes a number of Franco-American newspapers from the New England region. Most consist of bound copies and nearly all have been microfilmed. To preserve the bound volumes, the Institute encourages scholars to consult the microfilm copies whenever they are available, for example, at the American Antiquarian Society or the Boston Public Library.