Scope and Contents
This collection is comprised of the written and photographic records of Le Cotillon These include copies and revisions of the organization’s bylaws, meeting minutes, programs from past balls and scholarship presentations, and membership and scholarship applications. Financial records, including treasurer’s reports, an accounting ledger, and account statements from various financial institutions, are also included. In addition to photographs chronicling a number of the organization’s balls, luncheons, and scholarship ceremonies, there are pages from debutante scrapbooks that include information about and photographs of all debutantes (1962-1994). There is also a small quantity of artifacts relating to the organization, including flags, banners, and pins.
1961-2007, bulk 1977-2007
Majority of material found within 1977 - 2007
Language of Materials
Materials in both English and French
Conditions Governing Access
Access unrestricted. Student transcripts and personal account numbers
have been removed and destroyed.
Biographical / Historical
Le Cotillon, based in southeastern Massachusetts, was founded in 1961 and incorporated in 1962. It was established as a charitable organization under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Certificate of Incorporation on June 6, 1964. According to its bylaws (revised in 2006), the purpose of Le Cotillon was “to perpetuate French culture and heritage, [t]o support French historical, musical, artistic, scientific, literary [and] linguistic projects and events, and to promote the educational advancement of students of French descent.” Membership to Le Cotillon could be obtained by those able to prove either French or French Canadian ancestry, by blood or marriage. The symbol of the organization was a fleur-de-lis with the organization’s official colors being red, white, and blue – both reflecting the organization’s mission to perpetuate French culture in the area.
Aside from its role in bolstering cultural awareness and pride in the Franco-American community of southeastern Massachusetts, the majority of the organization’s activity centered on the annual debutante ball and scholarship ceremony. Traditionally, the organization would stage a grand affair in which young women – typically seventeen to eighteen years of age – of French or French Canadian descent would don white ball gowns and undergo a formal presentation, including a curtsey before the organization’s president, to represent her transition into womanhood. This would be followed by a waltz with her father, during which her escort for the evening would cut in as a symbolic gesture.
At the outset of the 21st century, Le Cotillon strove to adapt to changing times and financial hardships. In 2002, young men were officially allowed to participate as “presentees” – the designation “debutante” having been dropped to reflect this transition. This change was followed in 2006 by the allowance of prom dresses in lieu of white gowns before the debutante ball was discontinued entirely in 2008 in favor of a less extravagant scholarship luncheon, hosted in conjunction with La Ligue des Franco-Americains. After disbursing the remainder of the organizations funds in scholarships in 2010, Le Cotillon was officially dissolved.
5.17 Linear Feet (About 5.17 linear feet- (plus 3 flag boxes [49”x4.25”x4.25”] stored upstairs on top of map drawers); 2- five foot flag poles stored separately (with bronze plaques))