St Peter's School, Lewiston, Class of 1910Item 74893 info
The experience of Franco-American children in the 20th century is not unique; in fact many of the themes represented here apply to other working-class communities or immigrant groups.
However, what makes the story of the Petit Pains unusual is that the conditions that created the experience are still vivid for many in Maine's Franco community.
In Lewiston-Auburn and other cities in Maine, a French-speaking community with a basis in industrial manufacturing persisted into the 1960s, when a confluence of changes broke apart the social fabric of that community.
Now those who were children in the 1930s through 1960s, and were shaped by those experiences, are seniors, representing a large part of Maine’s population.
The experience of Franco-American children is not only relevant to understand their world view, but also to inform the education and assimilation of today's generation of new Mainers.