School Manuals

Presentation

The Congrégation de Notre-Dame produced more school manuals than any other community of women religious in Quebec. Some 440 publications are credited to its name. Among them are text books and workbooks, for both students and teachers (livre du maître). Half of these have been either re-printed or re-edited. These publications illustrate the evolution of the education systems and the teaching methods, but also the many changes in society, in particular, the transformation of the value system.

The publications of the Congregation touch on many subjects. Some examples are domestic science, with specialties in cooking and sewing as well as French, with publications on learning how to read and write. There are manuals on other subjects as well, such as, religion, history, art, geography, music, physical education, the sciences, decorum and accounting.

Religious communities and school boards used some of these books, which were approved by the Council of Public Instruction. The Congrégation de Notre-Dame also used texts produced by other publishers and imported them from France and elsewhere. When publishing was more developed in Lower Canada, the community began using local publications as well.