Dedicated on April 19, 1990, the Cercle Collection consists of over 400 books, records, tapes and periodicals in the French language. The Collection was established in memory of Monique Harwin, world traveller, avid sportswoman, gardener, accomplished equestrian, author, hostess and fundraiser, and life long champion of things Gallic. The collection supplements the library’s sizable holdings in foreign language literature. Materials may be used in the library and may be checked out by Cercle members, faculty, staff, and students of Notre Dame.
A member of Le Cercle from 1959 until her death in 1990, Monique Harwin served as president of the group from 1966-67. She produced and authored “A la Maniere de…”, a cookbook of sixty French recipes in French and English sponsored by Le Cercle to raise funds for the annual French Language Prize program she chaired. This program granted awards to inner city students proficient in the French language. She frequently gave lectures for the group describing her extensive travels with her husband Sheridan Harwin. Monique also initiated an effort to gather historical materials about Le Cercle and have it registered in the Western Reserve Historical Society. In addition to these accomplishments, she was also a vice president and trustee of La Maison Francaise de Cleveland, an organization also devoted to promoting the French language.
Monique was an avid gardener and enjoyed making hats for family and friends after taking a millinery class. A consummate hostess, Monique was involved in many volunteer efforts and civic activities, hosting the jury for the Casadesus piano competition and active in the Davis and Wightman cup tournaments held in Cleveland. She volunteered as a guide to French speaking tourists, seamen and officials to acquaint them with the attractions of the Cleveland area. One lasting contribution which gave her great satisfaction, however, was to establish a library for the collection of French books belonging to Le Cercle. This collection has found a home at the Clara Fritzsche Library.
About La Maison Française de Cleveland
Founded by a French teacher in the 1930’s, La Maison consists of about 300 members devoted to the French culture. It is affiliated with the Alliance Francaise de Paris. Among the group’s activities are organizing an annual academic competition of French literature for high schools and universities.
Le Cercle Conferences des Francaises is the oldest group of its kind in Cleveland. It was organized more than 50 years ago by women who loved France and its culture and wanted to preserve the ties between France and the United States.
La Maison e-mail contact: firstname.lastname@example.org