New History of Acadians website celebrates untold stories of Acadian students at Mount Allison
Online resource launched by University Archives this spring
SACKVILLE, NB – A new virtual exhibit on the history of Acadians at Mount Allison University and in Sackville, New Brunswick is now available to researchers and the public.
The project was completed by Renée Belliveau, a Mount Allison graduate, who has been working in the University Archives since September 2018 through the Young Canada Works internship program. She worked with University Archivist David Mawhinney throughout the project.
The new website, The History of Acadians at Mount Allison University/L’histoire des Acadiens à l’université Mount Allison, includes a number of archival, print, and web sources that will provide a richer point of access for researchers.
“It was exciting to discover the stories of Acadians in the region and specifically those at Mount Allison,” says Belliveau. “When David suggested this as a research project, being Acadian, I knew this was an area of Mount Allison I wanted to learn more about and to help tell these previously untold stories. I hope the website will also serve as a source of pride for all Acadians at Mount Allison.”
Belliveau has spent almost a year sourcing information on Acadian students, faculty, and staff members from the University Archives, the Library’s Special Collections, and additional research done at l’Université de Moncton.
Belliveau also interviewed community members from the region and the University, including Alex Fancy, retired French and drama professor and founding director of Tintamarre, Mount Allison’s bilingual troupe, and Monika Boehringer, professor emerita of French and expert in Acadian women’s writing, to create the new website throughout her internship.
Throughout the project, Belliveau and Mawhinney discovered several Acadian ‘firsts’ at Mount Allison, including the University’s first Acadian graduate (Aurore Bourque, Class of 1932), as well as the first Acadian professor, Dr. Ernest René Richard. Richard taught law at Mount Allison in the 1920s and 1930s and would later go on to become the Mayor of Sackville.
Belliveau also discovered a direct personal connection while working on the project. Her great-aunt was a staff member at Mount Allison. Unfortunately, she passed away before Belliveau was able to interview her for the project.
“Renée’s research on the Acadian population and their contributions fills an important role in the history of Mount Allison University and the surrounding region,” says Mawhinney. “We are delighted to share this new resource and stories with the world.”
Originally from Shediac, Belliveau graduated from Mount Allison in 2017 and received her Master’s in English from the University of Waterloo in 2018 before returning to campus for her current internship. She is beginning a second Master’s degree in Library and Archival Studies at the University of Toronto this fall and plans to pursue a career in this field.
The History of Acadians at Mount Allison University/L’histoire des Acadiens à l’université Mount Allison is available at: https://libraryguides.mta.ca/history_of_acadians/welcome
Photo captions: University Chancellor Harold Roy Crabtree conferring an Honorary Doctor of Laws the Hon. Roméo LeBlanc at the 9 May 1977 Convocation (MtA Archives.); History of the Acadians researcher and Mount Allison graduate Renée Belliveau; Members of the 1905-1906 Mount Allison Orchestra, including early Acadian student Georgina Melanson standing second from the left in the front row (MtA Archives.)