Madeleine Dinora Giguère (1925-2004), the only child of Dr. Eustache and Dinora (Cailler) Giguere was an internationally recognized sociologist, known locally and regionally as “la marraine” (the godmother) of Franco-Americans. Ms. Giguere had a long and distinguished academic career, specializing in ethnic and women’s issues.
her local education at Jordan School and Lewiston High School, she went on to obtain higher degrees at the Ursulines’ College of New Rochelle, Fordham University, and Columbia University. Professor Giguère taught at St. Joseph’s College and Boston College before accepting a position at the University of Southern Maine in 1967. She served there for more than two decades, establishing Franco-American Studies as a legitimate and important part of her curriculum.
The author and editor of numerous groundbreaking publications about Franco-Americans, she was an internationally-recognized authority on the analysis of the U.S. Census since 1970. Professor Giguère was instrumental in having ethnic heritage questions included in these fundamental national surveys, and because of her meticulous examination of his data, the Franco-Americans’ quiet presence in Maine and throughout New England was documented and made more visible.
She was a much sought-after lecturer on her demographic findings about this four century-old branch of the French Republic. Upon her retirement in 1990, she was instrumental in establishing the Franco-American Heritage Collection at Lewiston-Auburn College. She served for seven years as volunteer director of this archive of local and regional history of immigrants from Quebec and Acadia, and contributed her substantial private collection to its holdings. The Reading Room at the Franco-American Collection is named in her honor.
Madeleine Giguère Collection, Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine
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