Skip to main content

Le Cotillon records

 Collection
Identifier: MC-164

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.

Dates

  • 1961-2007, bulk 1977-2007
  • Majority of material found within 1977 - 2007

Creator

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.

Extent

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))

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Madeleine Monteiro, former president of Le Cotillon, Inc. Received February 2014, accession #14-6. Additional items donated by Mel Yoken, January 22, 2018 (programs, invitations and clippings).

Related Materials

Access Points (other names): Boyer, Patricia Le Cotillon, Inc. Monteiro, Madeleine M. Robitaille, Jacqueline Theroux, Deacon Bernard G. Theroux, Lorraine Y. Access Points (subjects): Debutante balls Franco-Americans Nonprofit organizations--United States--Membership

Processing Information

processed by Molly Driscoll (Simmons College GSLIS intern), March 2015.
Title
Le Cotillon records
Status
Completed
Author
Molly Driscoll
Date
March 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
French and English

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

Contact:
285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA