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3: Chez Nous Book Three: La Society Canadienne Francaise Newsletters- Book Three Paperback – September 11, 2016
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In the summer of 1985, I volunteered to help put together a “kitchen table” newsletter called Chez Nous for a group of French-Canadian descendants, La Societe Canadienne Francaise du Minnesota (LSCF) in the greater Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Chez Nous began its life in 1980, and after personally editing 98 issues, part of the time joined by a complementary newsletter Nouvelles Villes Jumelles (NVJ), I was at bedside when LSCF died in January 2002.
What remained were 156 newsletters spanning over 20 years, and comprising about 1000 pages of content. This is one of the three volumes of this three part set.
In 2016, the French-American Heritage Foundation ([...]) decided to publish these newsletters exactly as they appeared when they arrived in the mail at subscribers homes.
These newsletters were of the genre I call “kitchen table”, familiar to anyone who has ever belonged to an organization. They were never intended to be works of art, or live on past the issue date, though I have found that many recipients kept them all, much like we used to keep National Geographic. Because people kept their newsletters, we believe we have included in these three volumes every single one of the newsletters ever published by LSCF.
Each volume includes a complete index of contents of all of the newsletters (27 two-column pages), and each include identical Introduction articles about the history of the newsletters and LSCF, the organization for which they were published.
Since they were put together by volunteers, in the pre-computer age, they would not win prizes for literature or artistic presentation. But this is what gives them value. Page after page of stories as written by ordinary people about their own ancestors give a seldom seen window into the past as lived by the French-Canadians in the area of Minnesota and surrounding states.
Personally, I recommend starting by reading the 15 page introduction, and then browsing the index to find topics of interest. For example, there are over 50 “recettes” (recipes). And while the newsletters are in English, for an English speaking audience, their pages include over 50 items in French or about the French language.
If you have even a little French ancestry with any roots in the upper midwest, you will find much to interest you within the pages of these books.
My own rating? a “5” of course, based only on the nature of the contents. You can see the contents of the book at the website referred to above, simply click library, then click chez nous. Chez Nous is a useful set for libraries, casual reading, and for people with a research interest.
editor of Chez Nous, 1985-2002