Germain Lemieux

(Joseph) Germain Lemieux. Folklorist, teacher, born Cap-Chat, near Matane, Que, 5 Jan 1914, died Saint-Jérôme, Que 26 Mar 2008; MA history (Laval) 1955, PH D Canadian studies (Laval) 1961, honorary LL D (York) 1977, honorary D LITT (Ottawa) 1978. He entered the Jesuit order in 1935 and was ordained in 1947. He began studying Franco-Ontarian oral folklore in 1948 when he was asked by the Société historique du Nouvel-Ontario to investigate the subject in the Sudbury region. He visited singers and story tellers in Sturgeon Falls, Verner, and Sudbury. Between 1948 and 1958 he accumulated a valuable collection of recorded materials (more than 600 songs, about 30 stories, and many legends) and published two collections of songs, Folklore franco-ontarien - Chansons, (2 vols, Sudbury 1949, 1950). Meanwhile he studied 1953-5 at Laval University.

In 1958 the Société historique du Nouvel-Ontario transferred its recorded collections and the responsibility for folklore research to the University of Sudbury (an affiliate of Laurentian University), which in 1959 appointed Father Lemieux director of its Institut de folklore (renamed the Centre franco-ontarien de folklore in 1975). In the summer of 1959 Father Lemieux undertook a series of investigations in untapped areas of Ontario and Quebec, where he collected more than 300 songs and some 30 tales. He returned to Laval University to study 1959-61 with Luc Lacourcière; his doctoral thesis, Placide-Eustache (Quebec City 1970), dealt with a single popular tale. With grants in 1963, 1964, and 1966 from the Canada Council, he began transcribing and codifying the institute's recorded collections. At Laval University 1965-9 he gave courses based on the documentation at the University of Sudbury's Institut de folklore. He was responsible for the publication of Chanteurs franco-ontariens et leurs chansons (Sudbury 1963-4), Chansonnier franco-ontarien (2 vols, Sudbury 1974, 1975), and works on Franco-Ontarian stories. During his field trips, Father Lemieux also collected old implements and musical instruments, several of which had been made by the country people themselves. He wrote the chapter 'La chanson folklorique canadienne-francaise' in La Chanson francaise. Lemieux researched and prepared the texts for the 1975 CBC-FM series 'Dans le mémoire des hommes'. The nine programs were rebroadcast in 1980. In 1973 the Conseil de la vie francaise en Amérique awarded him the Prix Champlain, and in 1986 he received the Marius Barbeau Medal.