Works and articles

Many works have been published on the life of Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins and the history of Desjardins Group.

Here is some suggested reading to learn more. A brief description of available books and articles, mostly drawn from the magazine Revue Desjardins, is provided to guide you.

Books

Alphonse Desjardins 1854-1920

This biography of Alphonse Desjardins is the result of several years of research leading to the discovery of new and previously unknown information. It draws a multidimensional portrait of the historical character. The history of caisses is presented but without overshadowing the other aspects of his working life.The work presents the caisses founder as the intellectual and entrepreneur that he was.

Guy Bélanger, Alphonse Desjardins 1854-1920, Quebec City, Septentrion, 2012.

Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins, Vol. I (1900-1920)

The first of 3 volumes of Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins covers the period from the founding of the first caisse in 1900 through the death of Alphonse Desjardins in 1920. The study introduces Desjardins's cooperative project, its creation and first phase of development, and provides a great deal of biographical information about the founder of caisses populaires.

Pierre Poulin. Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins, Vol. I (1900-1920). Montreal: Québec/Amérique, 1990.

La Caisse populaire de Lévis 1900-2000. Là où tout a commencé

Produced for the 100th anniversary of Caisse populaire Desjardins de Lévis, the first caisse founded by Alphonse Desjardins in 1900, the book covers the first 100 years of the caisse's history. The first 3 chapters deal specifically with Alphonse Desjardins and provide up until now unpublished biographical information. Available online on the Caisse populaire de Lévis website.

Guy Bélanger in collaboration with Claude Genest. La Caisse populaire de Lévis 1900-2000. Là où tout a commencé. Quebec/Lévis: Éditions Multimondes/Éditions Dorimène, 2000.

Articles

Books

Dorimène Desjardins, 1858-1932. Cofondatrice des caisses populaires Desjardins

Produced for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dorimène Desjardins, this brief biography retraces the life of Alphonse Desjardins's spouse from the perspective of her contribution to the creation and development of caisses populaires.

Guy Bélanger. Dorimène Desjardins, 1858-1932. Cofondatrice des caisses populaires Desjardins, Lévis: Éditions Dorimène, 2008.

Articles

Books

Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins

In 3 volumes, Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins by historian Pierre Poulin covers the first 70 years of Desjardins Group history: Vol. I, Desjardins et la naissance des caisses populaires (1900-1920), Vol. II, La percée des caisses populaires (1920-1944) and Vol. III, De la caisse locale au complexe financier (1945-1971)

Pierre Poulin. Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins. Montreal: Québec/Amérique. 1990-1998.

Desjardins 100 ans d'histoire

Published for the 100-year anniversary of Desjardins Group in 2000, the book outlines a century of history. Parts 1, 2 and 3 provide an overview of the 3 volumes of Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins. Part 4 covers the period from 1970 to 2000. The brief work traces the development of Desjardins Group.

Pierre Poulin in collaboration with Andrée Rivard and Pierre Goulet. Desjardins 100 ans d'histoire. Quebec City/Lévis: Éditions Multimondes/Éditions Dorimène, 2000.

Du comptoir au réseau financier. L'expérience historique du Mouvement Desjardins dans la région du centre du Québec

The authors, from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, cover the same period as Pierre Poulin in Histoire du Mouvement Desjardins, but focus on the Centre-du-Québec region. A total of 70 years of history are studied from 4 angles: Desjardins Group's social foundation, seats of authority, internal organization and financial practices.

Yvan Rousseau and Roger Levasseur. Du comptoir au réseau financier. L'expérience historique du Mouvement Desjardins dans la région du centre du Québec, 1909-1970. Montreal: Boréal, 1995.

Desjardins en mouvement. Comment une grande coopérative de services financiers se restructure pour mieux servir ses membres

The book provides an overview of the history of Desjardins Group to show how the need to change gradually emerged, leading to the reorganization of 2000. The authors, working respectively for Société historique Alphonse-Desjardins and HEC Montréal, study the democratic path that led to the decision to reorganize and describe the strategy and steps taken to achieve it, before making a first assessment of the experience.

Pierre Poulin and Benoit Tremblay. Desjardins en mouvement. Comment une grande coopérative de services financiers se restructure pour mieux servir ses members. Lévis/Montreal: Éditions Dorimène/Presses HED Montréal, 2005.

Une tradition de rigueur et d'intégrité. L'inspection et la vérification dans le Mouvement des caisses Desjardins (1901-2005)

Retracing the history of inspection and verification in Desjardins Group, the work describes the evolution of inspection, verification and internal control mechanisms, all essential in maintaining the trust of members. The first century of Desjardins Group history is told from this angle.

Claude Genest and Martine Côté. Une tradition de rigueur et d'intégrité. L'inspection et la vérification dans le Mouvement des caisses Desjardins (1901-2005). Lévis: Éditions Dorimène, 2005.

Desjardins, une entreprise et un mouvement?

The result of a 1996 symposium organized by Université du Québec à Montréal bringing together university researchers in various disciplines and Desjardins Group officers. The main focus was on the challenges and issues stemming from Desjardins Group's double nature as both a movement and company. The work is available online to all members of Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec.

Benoît Lévesque (Dir.) in collaboration with Marie Bouchard, Michel Grant, Luc Desrochers and Francine Jacques. Desjardins, une entreprise et un mouvement? Sainte-Foy: Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1997.

100 fois merci à 100 hommes et femmes qui ont contribué à bâtir le Mouvement des caisses Desjardins depuis 100 ans.

For the 100th anniversary of Desjardins Group in 2000, the Confédération published a work containing brief portraits of 100 people who made outstanding contributions to the growth of Desjardins Group during its first century of history. The people were selected from various Desjardins Group components and throughout Quebec as well as Ontario and Manitoba.

100 fois merci à 100 hommes et femmes qui ont contribué à bâtir le Mouvement des caisses Desjardins depuis 100 ans. Lévis: Confédération des caisses populaires et d'économie Desjardins du Québec, 2000.

Articles

Books

Un passeport vers la liberté. Les caisses populaires de l'Ontario de 1912 à 1992

After briefly describing Alphonse Desjardins's cooperative project, the author chronologically covers caisses populaire de l'Ontario's 90 years of history. The links between the caisses and the Franco-Ontarian community are explained, as well as the merger of local caisses. Each caisse populaire founded in Ontario is then individually introduced.

Brigitte Bureau. Un passeport vers la liberté. Les caisses populaires de l'Ontario de 1912 à 1992. Le Mouvement des caisses populaires de l'Ontario, 1992.

De la table de cuisine à la rue principale. 50 ans d'histoire des caisses populaires du Manitoba

Edited by Conseil de la coopération du Manitoba and written by Maurice Gauthier, who had a long career in the Manitoba cooperative movement, the book gives an overview of 50 years of history by theme. The beginnings, institutions, tensions, external image, services and Franco-Manitoban community are each discussed in turn. Each caisse populaire founded in Manitoba is then introduced.

Maurice Gauthier. De la table de cuisine à la rue principale. 50 ans d'histoire des caisses populaires du Manitoba, 1937-1987. Conseil de la coopération du Manitoba, 1987.

Une force qui nous appartient : la Fédération des caisses populaires acadiennes

After retracing the first cooperative experiments in the Maritimes, historian Jean Daigle reviews Fédération des caisses populaires acadiennes's 50 years of history. The 5 decades are discussed from 5 points of view: the beginnings, nationalists, consolidation, managers and computer systems.

Jean Daigle. Une force qui nous appartient : la Fédération des caisses populaires acadiennes, 1946-1986. Moncton: Éditions d'Acadie, 1990.

The Credit Union Movement: Origins and Development 1850 to 1980

Written by 2 university researchers, the book describes Alphonse Desjardins's pioneering role in the U.S. His visits to the country and work there are discussed in the book's first 3 chapters.

J. Carroll Moody and Gilbert C. Fite. The Credit Union Movement: Origins and Development 1850 to 1980. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1984.

Articles

  • 1912: New York welcomes Alphonse Desjardins (PDF, 328 KB)
    Pierre Poulin. "1912: New York welcomes Alphonse Desjardins", Desjardins Magazine, 68, 5 (2002), p. 28.
  • Alphonse Desjardins dans l'Ontario français (in French only, PDF, 632 KB)
    Guy Bélanger. "Alphonse Desjardins dans l'Ontario français", Revue Desjardins, 69, 3 (2003), p. 22-23.
  • Pierre Poulin. "Alphonse Desjardins et les Franco-Américains de la Nouvelle-Angleterre", Cap-aux-Diamants : la revue d'histoire du Québec, 61 (2001), p. 48-51. [Online], 2012.

Active on the national and international scene, Desjardins Group has local roots. The basis of the history of the leading cooperative financial group in Canada today, the caisse populaire Desjardins is still today the driving force of Desjardins Group. Each caisse is a reflection of its community and forges its own destiny as well as that of Desjardins Group as a whole.

To celebrate their anniversaries, some caisse have produced works retracing their history. The works provide insight in how the project launched in Lévis by Alphonse Desjardins was developed both locally and collectively. A few examples are provided here.

Works

Caisse populaire de Lévis

Guy Bélanger in collaboration with Claude Genest. La Caisse populaire de Lévis 1900-2000. Là où tout a commencé. Quebec City/Lévis: Éditions MultiMondes/Éditions Dorimène, 2000. Available on the Caisse populaire Desjardins de Lévis website.

Caisse populaire Desjardins de Charlesbourg

Notre passé se conjugue au futur : 1911-2011 (in French only, PDF, 8.6 MB)

Caisse populaire Desjardins de Charlesbourg. Notre passé se conjugue au futur, 1911-2011. [Québec], 2010. Historical texts by Claude Genest and Pierre-Olivier Maheux.

Caisse populaire Desjardins Préfontaine-Hochelaga

100 ans ouvert sur notre monde (in French only, PDF, 2.5 MB)

Caisse populaire Desjardins Préfontaine-Hochelaga. 100 ans ouvert sur notre monde. [Montréal], 2012. Historical texts by Claude Genest and Réjean Charbonneau (Atelier d'histoire d'Hochelaga-Maisonneuve).

Journalist, editor of the Québec Legislative Assembly debates and stenographer at the House of Commons, Alphonse Desjardins earned his living as a writer. When he decided to launch the caisse populaire project, he put his pen to work there too. He wrote thousands of letters, newspaper articles and papers, and wrote and delivered hundreds of lectures on the subject of caisses.

In 1912, École sociale populaire published a few months apart 2 brochures by Alphonse Desjardins entitled La Caisse populaire I and La Caisse populaire II. These are among the founders most well-known writings. The first brochure, more theoretical, explains the goals of the savings and credit cooperative and the way caisses populaires work. The second is an illustration of how caisses in various communities work based on concrete examples.

Here is the 4th edition of 1944, combining both brochures and with a foreword by Cyrille Vaillancourt, then general manager of the provincial Fédération.

La Caisse populaire (in French only, PDF, 8.1 MB)
Alphonse Desjardins. La Caisse populaire, nos. 7 and 12. Montreal: Secrétariat de l'École Sociale Populaire, 1944 (1912).