The Center for French Colonial Studies is a educational organization dedicated to the research and understanding of the Midwest’s French history and heritage. The CFCS was founded in 1983 to serve as a crossroads for research conducted within diverse fields of scholarship relating to mid-America’s French colonial past. Our membership consists of historians, archaeologists, preservation technologists, architectural historians, language educators, genealogists, historic interpreters, and other interested individuals. Our common bond is an interest in the French colonization of the middle Mississippi valley and the Midwest. The CFCS is organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation for exclusively charitable, literary, scientific and educational purposes.
The mission of the Center for French Colonial Studies includes:
- serving as a clearing house (exchange center) for information on current research on the Illinois Country
- bringing together diverse groups interested in the period for the purpose of generating support for such research
- publishing original documents and research related to the French presence in the mid-Mississippi Valley
The activities of the Center are recorded in its quarterly publication, Le Journal, that carries news, articles, book reviews and research materials. In addition the Center publishes monographs related to the French presence in the upper Mississippi Valley.
The annual meeting takes place every fall, each year in a different location associated with the French presence in the Mississippi Valley: Prairie du Rocher, Ste. Geneviève, St. Louis, Peoria, Prairie du Chien, Old Mines, etc. The annual meeting is frequently organized in cooperation with a local university or historical society. It includes the presentation of papers by academic and non-attached historians, visits to local historic sites, and provides an opportunity for socializing with others interested in the French history of the American mid-west.