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French Institute: Oral Histories

Oral Histories

French-Canadian Tradition in Vermont - Kimberly Chase Guay

In a project associated with the University of Vermont and dated December 10, 1980, author Kimberly Chase Guay interviewed six individuals of French-Canadian decent about social life and customs as they experienced them living 20th century Vermont.

Interviews are recorded on audiocassette tapes, and include partial written transcripts in some cases.

Along with the author's accompanying paper, materials include:

Arthur and Maurice Blanchard Interview (les frères Blanchard)

  • 3 audiocassettes (approximately 180 min.)
  • Specific topic: Description of family and peer group traditions, historical events, songs and stories.
  • Partial transcript included. 
  • Recorded in Winooski, VT, Dec. 1, 1980.

Claire Chase Bouffard Interview

  • 4 audiocassettes (240 min.)
  • Specific topic: French-Canadians in Winooski, VT during the 20th century.
  • Partial transcript included. 
  • Recorded in: Underhill, VT, December 8, 1980.

Alice Danis Interview

  • 2 audiocassettes (60 min.)
  • Interview conducted in French. 
  • Recorded in Burlington, VT in December 1980.

Raoul Danis Interview

  • 2 audiocassettes (120 min.)
  • Specific topic: Historical background of Lakeside; discussion of French-Canadian celebrations, holidays and daily life.
  • Partial transcript included.
  • Recorded in Burlington, VT, December 5, 1980.

Helene Hamel Interview

  • 1 side of 1 audiocassette
  • Specific topic: French-Candian songs, anecdotes, jokes and historical information.
  • Recorded in Essex Junction, VT, on December 3, 1980.

Maurice Pacquette Interview

  • 2 audiocassettes (120 min.)
  • Specific topic: Incidences and anecdotes in the life of a Franco-American living in Winooski, VT during the 20th century.
  • Partial transcript included.
  • Recorded in Winooski, VT, October 16, 1980.

Linguistic Survey - Josephine Perreault

Organizer Josephine Perreault, along with Anita Poyant, conducted this linguistic survey with Franco-Americans in Fall River, MA and New Bedford, MA in the early 1980s. There were 101 participants in Fall River, and 100 participants in New Bedford.

The collection includes both the audio recordings, as well as the related documents noted below. 

For both cities, there is a folder containing a list of brief sentences in English that survey respondents were asked to translate into French. Following the lists, there are separate sheets of paper for each translated sentence, showing the many different variants the sentences were translated into, along with the number of respondents who answered in that particular way.

Additionally, for each respondent, there is a three-page questionnaire regarding demographic information such as birth place and parents' names, schools attended, and whether French was studied in particular, their impression of the Franco-American community as they remember it, and about French usage in the home both while growing up and at present-day. Some of the questionnaires have additional commentary attached.

Of particular interest may be the list of people interviewed in each town, as it also gives the occupation of each respondent, and includes several whose listed occupations imply potential mill work.

Hours and Contact

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Appointments recommended.

The French Institute follows the academic calendar of Assumption University. Exceptions to our regular hours may be found here.



The Institute is located on the 3rd floor of La Maison Française.



Leslie Choquette
Director of the French Institute
Professor of History

Kate Bradley

Librarian/Archivist of the French Institute

508-767-7000 ext. 7495

Usage Policy

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.