Sam Shapiro was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania on August 26, 1927. His parents were Maurice and Anna (Silver) Shapiro. His father was born in the Ukraine and his mother in Lithuania. He joined the Navy for two years in 1945, then went to the University of Pittsburg on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1952. He married and moved to Waterville in 1953 and served as treasurer for Maine Democratic Party for 13 years. He also ran several furniture stores with his father-in-law. He served as state treasurer for 16 years 1980-1997, during the Brennan, McKernan and King administrations. He was temporary chairman of the state democratic convention from the 1970s-2000.
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L'Hommedieu, Andrea, "Shapiro, Sam oral history interview" (2000). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 359.