La Fédération Féminine Franco-Américaine: A History

La Fédération Féminine Franco-Américaine was founded in November, 1951 in Lewiston, Maine. In the years following World War II, a great need was felt to include women officially in the survivance movement in order to maintain the French language among the post-war generation. As its name implies, the F.F.F.-A was an organization created to link together in a loose-knit federation all the existing Franco-American women’s societies throughout the Northeast, i.e., New England and New York State

Delegates of the affiliated clubs–in 1951, there were 110 such societies representing 47,403 members–met twice yearly to discuss ways and means of promoting the French language, of improving the quality of the French spoken by its members, and sensitizing the next generation to its ethnic roots. Oral contests were held throughout the fifties, sixties, and up to the year 1974 when these were replaced by Les Festivals de la Jeunesse which lasted into the eighties.

Biennial conventions–nineteen in all– were held in various cities throughout New England and Québec from 1953 through 1991, each of which had a specific theme relating to current problems facing survivance and–given these circumstances–how women could become involved in maintaining the French language.

From 1991 on, annual meetings replaced the conventions. They featured speakers and visits to places of local interest in order to familiarize the women with other Franco-American centers besides their own. They were held in various New England cities with large Franco-American populations, or as in the case of Newport, having played a significant role in French-American history.

In addition to these conventions and annual meetings, the publication of  Le Bulletin from the early fifties to the early nineties formed a useful and indispensable link among the societies scattered throughout the Northeast and served as a means of communicating the resolutions voted upon as well as the goals being pursued by the F.F.F.-A.

In 2001, the year of the F.F.F.-A’s 50th anniversary, the decision was reached by its Board of Directors to bring an end to this once vibrant society since its aging population and the shift in interests of the current generation made it quasi-impossible to recruit new members in order to achieve its objectives. It was thus voted upon at a final meeting to transfer the F.F.F.-A’s total assets to the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Educational Foundation.

Claire Quintal

President (1973-1981) 1997, (2000-2001)