Albert Beliveau Submitted photo

Celebrate the Franco-American Collection’s archival holdings with author and journalist Douglas Rooks, writer and teacher Denis Ledoux, and Severin Beliveau, founding partner of one of Maine’s largest law firms, with a panel presentation and discussion “What it Means to be Franco: An Exploration of Themes in ‘First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics and Love’” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, at the as the Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine Libraries & Learning Lewiston-Auburn Campus.

The three will trace changes and transformations of identity from the 19th to the 21st century among the state’s largest ethnic group, representing one-quarter of its population. Rooks will offer highlights from his recent biography, “First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics and Love,” focusing on Beliveau’s experiences as a member of the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I and the rest of his long life, culminating in service on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Beliveau, born in Lewiston, spent most of his life in Rumford, serving during the administration of fellow townsman Ed Muskie, Governor and later U.S. Senator.

Ledoux will pick up the story in the post-World War II period, speaking about growing up in Lewiston in the 1950s, with excerpts from his recent memoir, “French Boy.”

Beliveau will join for a question-and-answer session with the authors bringing the discussion up to the present, followed by dialogue with the audience. The Collection will also mark the recent donation by the Beliveau family of the World War I-era letters written to Beliveau by his parents, sisters, friends and lovers, which will be archived and added to its extensive Beliveau papers.

Refreshments will be served.

Ledoux is the author of several books, including the short story collection “What Became of Them.” He is a writing coach and is a 2024 inductee to the Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame.


Beliveau, who is Albert’s son, served in the Maine House and Senate and has been a gubernatorial candidate in addition to an extensive law practice in Portland and Augusta at Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios. A former Maine Democratic Party chair with Washington connections, he has advised both presidents and governors.

Rooks’ book “First Franco” is available from the University of Maine Press. “French Boy” can be ordered through Amazon.

If you are unable to join in-person, the presentation is also available via Zoom. To register, visit

For more information or to register for this event, contact the FAC archivist, Anna Faherty at or by phone at 207-753-6545. If you have questions about disability access or need to request disability accommodations (e.g. sign language interpreters, materials in electronic format, etc.), please contact Faherty. Requests should be made as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for the accommodation process.

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