The Alliance Française de Buffalo celebrated its Centennial Celebration on February 20, 2003 at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Court in Buffalo. The late, Jean Miller, Vice-President of the Alliance Française in 2003, did some archival research and, with the help of long time members and former members, Marianne Vallet-Sandre, Geneviève James, Michèle and Richard Dates, and Bernard Cavelier, constituted the AFB's Centennial article and the listing of Past Presidents of the Alliance Française de Buffalo.
The AFB's Centennial
In January 1903, a small group of Buffalo women interested in keeping their French fluent and being informed of the newest in French literature, sent invitations in French to those known to speak French fluently concluding with: "It is purposed to form in Buffalo a branch of the Alliance Française. If the project interests you and you desire to be a member of the society, please send your name to Mrs. John G. Milburn, 1168 Delaware Avenue, before Feb 14th. The annual dues ... must not exceed $5.00...." Mrs. Milburn continued that one could read French easily enough but needed contacts to not grow imperfect in pronunciation and idioms. (Interview reported in Buffalo Express 2/6/1903). It is interesting to note that Mrs. Milburn, was married to Mr. John Milburn, the president of the Pan American Exhibition Association, and that it was to their house that, the year before, the wounded American President McKinley was taken when shot to death at the opening of the Pan-Am Exhibition.
Olivia Arditi became president in September 1998 and membership was nearing 300 as the chapter celebrated our 100th year. The Alliance Française de Buffalo is proud of its rich history as we continue to thrive and make our contributions. We eagerly look forward to sharing our French culture with the community for many years to come.
From 2005-2007, Marianne Vallet-Sandre returned to lead the group as President. From 2007-2011, Patricia Schiavone worked to advance the mission of AFB. From 2011- 2017, Evelyne Harris presided over the organization. From 2017-2019, Kennedy Schultz and Paula Hinz led as co-presidents.
In 2019, Emily McGrath is the current President.
PAST PRESIDENTS OF THE ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE DE BUFFALO