Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Mike Richard

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 124


Charles Abbott was born in Rumford, Maine on October 26, 1935. His mother, Lucille (Hicks) Abbott, taught high school and had Ed Muskie as a student. His grandfather and Muskie’s father were known to discuss New Deal politics. Charles grew up on a farm, attended Rumford High School and Bowdoin College (on a Maine state scholarship). He participated in ROTC and Young Republicans, and was a Political Science major. His father was a staunch Republican, county commissioner and town assessor. Charles served with the Army counter-intelligence corps in Washington, DC from 1958 to 1960 and was in charge of interviewing leading politicians and other VIPs. He worked for nine months as a financial analyst for Dunn & Bradstreet in Baltimore, then attended Yale Law School, graduating in the class of 1963 and has been practicing law in Auburn ever since. He became a Democrat the day after Kennedy was shot. Charles served as an Assistant D. A. (then known as county attorney), 1965-1970, and has served on the Democratic city (Auburn) and county (Androscoggin) committees. In 1972 he lost the Democratic state Senate primary and in 1974 lost the state Senate race by 3 votes. Over the years he has served on Governor Longley’s Executive Council, the Auburn Charter Revision Committee, Red Cross, and as a Trustee for the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Monmouth
Theater. He gave significant financial support to the renovation of the Muskie Archives in the 1980s.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Lucille Hicks Abbott; 1954 Maine gubernatorial campaign; 1969-1972 Presidential campaign (present at Manchester Union Leader incident); 1976 Senate campaign; the years 1973 to 1974 when Muskie and Abbott campaigned together in Auburn for Abbott’s bid for State Senate; Muskie anecdotes; budget; environmental protection; Bates College honoring ceremony; Rumford, Maine: river mill town, did not exist until 1895 when Hugh J. Chisholm sees opportunity to harness water power; Rumford Center, Rumford Corner, East Rumford, Rumford Falls; Oxford Paper Company dominant industry; unions; Lyndon B. Johnson: majority leader and anecdote; the Senate as a Gentleman’s Club; George Mitchell; anecdote of case with Abdullah Gashgai; John F. Kennedy’s assassination; Governor Longley; and the Executive Council.

Use Restrictions

Copyright Bates College. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.