The American Friends of Blérancourt exhibit in Lewiston

LEWISTON, ME– A wonderful opportunity to experience Franco-American international friendship is arriving in an impressive exhibit, beginning August 28, at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College (USM LAC). Curator of this exceptional opportunity is Elaine Uzan O’Leary, who is a native of Auburn.

Friends of The American Friends of Blérancourt exhibit in Lewiston

American Women Rebuilding France, 1917-1924 will be on exhibit from August 28, 2017 to September 22, 2017, at USM LAC.

In fact, the exhibit is a celebration of Franco-American friendship, on tour, from The American Friends of Blérancourt. (This year American Friends of Blérancourt-AFB- is celebrating its 30th anniversary.)

exhibit photo

Women Rebuilding France post WW I: The exhibit begins on August 28, in Lewiston at USM LAC at 51 Westminister Street, with a reception on August 31, from 5-7 PM.

AFB was created in 1985 at the suggestion of Pierre Rosenberg, the Chief Curator of Paintings at the Louvre Museum, in Paris.  At that time, the purpose was to raise funds for gardens and the educational programs for the Franco-American Museum at Château de Blérancourt in Picardy, France. Since them, the members have worked to educate the public about French-American friendship, and to celebrate a history spanning three centuries of alliances. Impressively, it is the only French national museum dedicated to France’s relationship with another country. An extension of this association will be exhibited at USM LAC, in Lewiston, to celebrate French Women rebuilding France after World War I (The Great War: 1914-1918).

Sponsored by the AFB, the exhibit is scheduled for August 28 – thru September 22, 2017, at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College (USM LAC), in the Atrium Art Gallery, located at 51 Westminister Street, in Lewiston.  An opening reception will be hosted in the Atrium on Thursday, August 31, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This exhibition of beautiful modern prints created from vintage photographs and rare silent film footage brings to life the extraordinary work undertaken between 1917 and 1924, by 350 American women – all volunteers – who left comfortable lives in the United States to devote themselves to humanitarian aid in France.

This exhibition is drawn from the collection of the Franco-American Museum, at Château de Blérancourt, in Picardy, France. Anne Morgan founded the museum devoted to the history of friendship and collaboration between the United States and France.

Leary nee L'Heureux

Elaine Uzan (nee L’Heureux) Leary and Richard L’Heureux (share the L’Heureux ancestry) photo taken in Topsham ME

Curator of the special USM LAC exhibit is Elaine (nee L’Heureux) Uzan Leary, a native of Auburn, ME. She is a leader in the creation of the school of the Alliance Francaise in Boston, the French American Chamber of Commerce in Boston, the French Theatre in Boston, a founding trustee in the Boston Strasbourg Sister City Association, plus twelve years in foreign language publishing with Heinle and Heinle and later Houghton Mifflin Company.

Prior to joining the American Friends of Blérancourt in July of 2008 in New York City, Elaine’s previous position was Executive Director of the French Library Alliance Francaise of Boston, considered New England’s most important French library, cultural center, and French language school. She was part of the New England Committee for the 400th  anniversary of Quebec, and launched the semaine de la Francophonie in Boston, bringing together various francophone associations.

Leary created and managed the traveling exhibition of “American Women Rebuilding France 1917-1924”, for the Franco-American Museum, Chateau de Blérancourt. Since 2010, she has taken the exhibit to14 US cities.

Raised bilingually in Auburn, Maine (nee L’Heureux of French Canadian ancestry) she graduated from Edward Little high School in 1965, and was educated in France, in Strasbourg and in Paris, a graduate of Stetson University in Deland, FL, plus a Master Degree in French from Middlebury College in Vermont, and a Masters in Communication from Emmerson College. Elaine Uzan Leary has received three French government awards:  Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres,  Chavalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite, and Chevalier de la Renaissance Francaise.

More information about American Friends of Blérancourt and the exhibit, contact:

Elaine Uzan Leary (617) 413-7984-
Irene Frye (207) 225-3161








Juliana L'Heureux

About Juliana L'Heureux

Juliana L’Heureux is a free lance writer who publishes news, blogs and articles about Franco-Americans and the French culture. She has written about the culture in weekly and bi-weekly articles, for the past 27 years.