Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 072


Donald Gautier was born in Portland, Maine on January 21, 1915. His Father was one of eleven children, born in Turner. He owned the Lawrence Music Store. His mother was a Welsh homemaker. They moved to Auburn when Donald was 5 years old. He lived in a residential area near Pettingill Park with no other French families in the vicinity. He attended Webster Grammar School. His family was not terribly affected by the Depression. He attended Edward Little High School and lived at home while attending Bates College, where he graduated in 1936. After graduation, Don owned a filling station. He first had a station in Auburn and then in Lewiston. He also owned a Firestone Tires dealership. He met his future wife in 1939. He enlisted in the National Guard in February of 1941 at Camp Landing. He attended Officer Candidate School. He married in May of 1942 at Fort Benning in Georgia. He served in the military for 5 years. He went to England in 1944, followed by France, Luxembourg, and the Siegfried Line. He remained active with the National Guard and later with the Reserve. He started a National Guard Batan as part of the 103rd Regimental Combat Team. He worked for the Veterans Administration as a contact representative in Lewiston. He was nominated to be the postmaster of Auburn in 1954. He eventually served greater Auburn, Augusta, and Waterville areas. He was involved with the Rifle Club in Auburn. He has been president of his Bates class since 1956. He is responsible for class reunions and letters. He was involved with the Lewiston-Auburn United Fund. In 1974 he ran for State Senate in district 12 but lost. He campaigned with Olympia Snowe. He was later involved with Kiwanis and Rotary.

Scope and Content Note

The interview includes discussions of: Bates College; track; Muskie’s roommate Joe Biernacki; the Navy; Muskie presenting an award to Gautier; Muskie leading a parade in Auburn; the Democratic Party in Maine; differences between Lewiston and Auburn (L/A); “Loiston”; local students at Bates; tension between Bates and L/A; similarities between Bates and a teacher’s college; the percentage of Bates from L/A; the division between men and women at Bates; the Depression affecting everyone; cars on Bates campus then and now; Auburn as being Republican, and Lewiston as being Democrat; the postmaster as a political appointment; the ten point preference in civil service; the changing position of postmaster; 1974 political issues; 5 cent deposit on aluminum cans; teachers’ salaries; the influence of Kiwanis, Exchange, and Rotary in the 1950s; the Bates transition from conservative to liberal and the possible influence of war.

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.