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Massillon Connection: A Pioneer Woman, a French Bishop, and a Village on a River

ABOUT THE BOOK

The book, which took seven years to produce, tells the story of the pioneer family-James and Eliza Duncan- who, in 1826, named the village they were settling after Jean-Baptiste Massillon. Massillon was a legendary eighteenth-century French bishop who delivered compelling sermons to both nobility and commoners. The book contains one of his sermons.

Research and preparation for this milestone book included a visit to Hyeres, France, the birthplace of Jean-Baptiste Massillon, on the 350th anniversary of his birth. That visit, based on a shared heritage, established a relationship that will likely continue for generations.

Massillon Connection: A Pioneer Woman, a French Bishop, and a Village on a River is the definitive story behind the origins of the naming of a city. It includes the story of the person who named Massillon and the story of the person for whom it was named.

This book is now available for purchase in the Museum shop, OhRegionalities, for $29.99 plus tax. You may also place an order by phone: 330-833-4061. Please note that shipping fees may apply. You may also purchase the book through our online shop here.

 


BOOK LAUNCH & SIGNING

From Whence We Came
Thursday, February 26, 2015

See photos from the event!

Read about the 2013 trip to Hyeres, France!

View the recording of the February 26 book launch panel lecture below:


Media Release

MassMu to Publish Book about Founding of Massillon

A new Massillon history book, The Massillon Connection: A Pioneer Woman, a French Bishop, and a Village on a River, will debut on February 26, published by the Massillon Museum.

The Massillon Connection focuses on the inception of Massillon in 1826, and the naming of the town for a legendary 18th-century French bishop. Andrew Preston researched and penned the first section of the book, which details the lives of founder James Duncan and his wife Eliza during the earliest days of the town. Genealogist Deb Altimus helped track the history of the founding family. 

Katina Hazimihalis explored the life of Bishop Jean-Baptiste Massillon (1663–1742), an influential French orator who delivered compelling sermons to the nobility of the French court of King Louis XIV as well as the commoners. His messages often addressed moral issues and Christian principles, speaking for justice, equality, and human dignity. Books of his sermons were compiled and published during the decades after his death. Underscoring Bishop Massillon’s stature during the reign of The Sun King, more than 1300 books of his sermons in at least five languages are for sale on the internet nearly three centuries later. 

An academic team, using an 1818 translation of one of Massillon’s most famous sermons, "On the Fewness of the Elect," (sometimes known as "On the Small Number of the Saved") faithfully turned it into contemporary English for inclusion in The Massillon Connection. If read aloud, the message takes nearly an hour to complete. “We made every effort to maintain the style used by Bishop Massillon,” said Paquelet. 

The Massillon Connection, a 120-page hardbound book, includes an introduction by David W. Schultz, David Dowd, and Charles Paquelet, as well as a fold-out timeline. The book will be printed locally at Bates Printing. Copies will be donated to schools, universities, libraries, and museums. Others may purchase The Massillon Connection at the book launch on February 26 or thereafter in the Massillon Museum shop, OHregionalities, at cost, $29.95 plus tax.

The book, which is fully funded by an anonymous donor, is the culmination of more than seven years of intense research, writing, editing, and revision. Shortly after retirement from his orthopedic surgery practice, Dr. Charles Paquelet presented the concept of compiling the definitive account of the founding and naming of Massillon to the Museum’s board of directors. With their blessing, a team of more than two dozen men and women of diverse backgrounds and talents worked until they felt, according to Paquelet, they “are satisfied that our investigation of these matters has been as thorough and complete as possible.”  

The project, which started as a community effort using resources and research talent at the Massillon Museum and the Massillon Public Library, expanded into an international project. Claude Gerard, professor of history at The Sorbonne, Paris, France; Dr. Douglas Palmer, associate professor of history, Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio; and Rev. Thomas E. Blantz, professor of history, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, all contributed their expertise.

In the fall of 2013, a core group from the committee—Dr. Charles Paquelet, Massillon Museum Executive Director Alexandra Nicholis Coon, and Fulbright scholar and former French teacher Trisha Merchant—traveled to France to participate in a colloquium commemorating the 350th anniversary of Bishop Massillon’s birth in Hyères, a small town in Provence. 

Paquelet says the project is intended as a community service. “The interest displayed over such a long period of time speaks loudly about the passion the contributing citizens have for their town,” he said. “Massillon has an esprit de corps not usually found in other communities. Many believe it’s all about football—a game that brings us together.” The 18th-century French cleric might be surprised to find that his name is together and synonymous with the 21st-century Tiger football team.

 
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