Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Greg Beam

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 202


John R. Hanson was born in Newark, New Jersey April 5, 1941 to Norma Virginia (Rice) and John W. Hanson. He grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. He attended the Technical High School in Springfield, the American International College of Springfield for one semester, and then enlisted in the Air Force. He did some electrical work after the service and became involved in politics and organized labor. He came to Maine to convince labor to back Curtis for governor in 1966. In 1968 he was offered a job by Ben Dorsky on Maine State Federated Labor Council as editor of the Labor News and as education director. He eventually became Dorsky’s assistant. In 1972 he took a position as Director of Labor Education at the University of Maine, Orono. At the time of the interview in 2000, he still held that position.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: 1968 vice presidential campaign; 1969-1972 presidential campaign; Republican party in Maine; Democratic party in Maine; community history of Springfield, Massachusetts; escalation of involvement in Vietnam in the early 1960s; Ben Dorsky; Maine AFL-CIO; John Reed vs. Ken Curtis gubernatorial race; Jimmy Hoffa visit and meeting with Ben Dorsky; campaign contributions before restrictions; COPE, the Committee on Political Education; labor education; process for AFL-CIO endorsement; condition of workers’ rights in Maine vs. nation; Muskie knowing his name; Ed Muskie as an impressive figure; Muskie being very comfortable at labor gatherings; relationship between Ben Dorsky and Ed Muskie; AFL-CIO membership over the years; production vs. service economy; Muskie in labor archives; Higher Education Act; Muskie sponsored Intergovernmental Personnel Act; George Mitchell also being liked by labor; two Muskie stories; Dickey-Lincoln Dam; and the Passamaquoddy Tidal Project.

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.