755 Myra Road, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Horse Era Agriculture
Thursday April 30th @ 5pm:
“Dear Cousin, dear Aunt…”: Letter-writing children and the French Canadian experience
Sarah Hurlburt, Associate professor of French
Sarah Robinson, Research Assistant
The Bergevin letters contain multiple examples and references to letters to and by children and adolescents. These letters range from a first letter to a beloved aunt or uncle by a young person just learning to write, to letters written on behalf of entire families, to letters exchanged directly between cousins. The content and function of these interactions provide us with a window onto the interpretive role of the child in the immigrant experience. The child may be interpreting between written and oral communication for an illiterate parent, or between languages for a monolingual parent, or attempting to reproduce the close epistolary relationships of their parents’ generation with their own cousins. Examples of these interactions in the Bergevin letters collection demonstrate the value placed on even distant family relationships in the French Canadian community, and the evolutions imposed upon these bonds by immigration.