Joanne Amnott Hoffmann was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1936. Her father was the Chief of Police in Lewiston, and her mother was a housewife. Joanne attended parochial schools in Lewiston until high school, and then attended and graduated from Lewiston High School. She continued her education at the Auburn School of Commerce, learning shorthand and typing. She was briefly employed at the Pepperill Manufacturing Company in the purchasing department, before becoming a legal secretary. She first worked for Harris Isaacson, and then worked in the firm of Clifford and Clifford under William Clifford. In 1959, she moved to Washington to become Ed Muskie’s personal secretary. She stayed in the Senate office until 1965, when she married Frank “Nordy” Hoffmann, a Washington lobbyist and Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate from 1973 to 1981. The Hoffmanns and the Muskies maintained personal friendships in later years.
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Nicoll, Don, "Hoffmann, Joanne Amnott oral history interview" (2000). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 173.