Hélène Desportes, born in 1620, was the first child of French parents to be born in Quebec and to survive. For nine years, she lived in Samuel de Champlain’s Habitation. In 1629, the little settlement was captured by the English. Hélène, along with the majority of the other French settlers, was put on an English ship and taken to France. She returned to Quebec in 1634 and spent the remainder of her life in the little colony. She was married twice, had fifteen children, and seventy grandchildren. No portrait of Hélène exits. There are no memoirs, no diaries, nor any letters to guide the biographer. Nevertheless, there are public records and other primary sources from which we are able to piece together her life. This, then, is her remarkable story, set against the backdrop of France’s efforts to establish a colony in the New World along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
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Hélène's World includes a lot of the history of early Quebec and French colonizing efforts along the banks of the St. Lawrence River in the New World. The stories and traditions of seventeenth-century Quebec and France are relevant. We can better understand Hélène and her French-Canadian neighbors when we know something about the world in which they lived. People are likely to have more in common with their peers than with preceding and future generations. Their daily activities, homes, diet, clothing, and challenges faced, as well as their religious and social values, generally reflect the realities of life and the societal customs for their time and place.
Hélène's World is an admittedly imperfect picture of Hélène Desportes. We can only surmise what she was thinking or feeling. In reality, all biographies are incomplete. We can never know all of the hopes, sorrows, and dreams of another individual. Hélène left no diary, no letters. If we limit ourselves to the official records from church and civil archives, we are drawing a stick figure. Seeing Hélène within the historical and cultural context of the world which she inhabited adds substance to her story and rounds out the picture we have of her life.
Susan McNelley, with her Masters in the Humanities, has long been interested in women’s stories, particularly those occurring in other places and in other times. She has also been researching family history for some thirty years. A few years ago, she was able to trace her ancestry back to seventeenth-century Quebec and to Hélène Desportes. Thus began a quest to learn more about what life was like for the early colonists. Hélène’s World, thoroughly researched and documented, is the fascinating story of Hélène Desportes and the other seventeenth-century French-Canadian pioneers.
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Descripción Etta Heritage Press, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: Brand New. 350 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.88 inches. In Stock. Nº de ref. de la librería zk0615738591
Descripción Etta Heritage Press, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0615738591
Descripción Etta Heritage Press, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110615738591