Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Don Nicoll

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 242


Sanford D. Greenberg was born on December 13, 1940 in Buffalo, New York where he lived for seventeen years. His father was a Polish immigrant who worked as a tailor, and his mother worked at a variety of jobs (including in the home). He went to college at Columbia, where he majored in American History and then concentrated on international affairs for his graduate work at Harvard. When he was nineteen, he lost his eyesight and this inspired him to become an inventor. After graduate school, however, he accepted two jobs: one at Harvard where he was a research assistant at the Center for International Affairs, and one at Columbia, where he taught as an assistant professor in the department of law and government. He began Law School at Harvard but ended up leaving after one year to serve on the White House staff under President Johnson, as an assistant to the president’s science advisor. There, in 1968, he met Ed Muskie and became fast and very close friends. In 1972, he worked on Muskie’s presidential campaign. He remained close friends with Muskie in later years.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: similarities in family backgrounds to Ed Muskie’s; education; the loss of his eyesight at age nineteen; his father’s background as a refugee during and around World War II; initial career moves; meeting Ed Muskie in 1968; anecdote about golfing with Ed Muskie; Muskie’s commitment to the environment; Muskie’s shared interest in history; Holocaust studies with Muskie; Muskie hypnotizing lobsters; Muskie’s commitment to Jane and their children; his work on Muskie’s 1972 campaign; rumors about Muskie having anti-Semitic prejudices; the campaign in terms of the Middle East; Ambassador Rabin; Arnold Picker; Jane Muskie; Hubert Humphrey; his post-political relationship with Ed Muskie and his family; Muskie’s death; Muskie’s temper; Vietnam War; Chadbourne & Parke; and an anecdote from 1988 illustrating Muskie’s thoughtfulness.

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.