Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 274


David Harkins was born in Lewiston, Maine on January 3, 1929. His mother, whose father was brought over from Italy as a chef, came from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His father’s family emigrated from Ireland to Lewiston. His father, Thomas Harkins, learned the mason trade in Boston and worked for St. Peter’s Church and the Lewiston Public Works, where he worked on the underground system and paving. Harkins attended the Gosselin School, Frye School, Jordan School, and Lewiston High School, where he graduated in 1948. He attended Bates College and graduated in the class of 1953. He attended physical therapy training at Columbia University for one year. He worked at New York State Rehabilitation Hospital in West Haverstraw. He joined the National Foundation for infantile paralysis where he worked at a polio emergency center in Providence, Rhode Island. He established a physical training center at Pineland Hospital in Pownal, Maine in 1957, at Montello Manor Nursing Home in the 1950s, at the Marcotte Home in 1961, and at St. Mary’s Hospital in 1964. He worked at St. Mary’s for 20 years. He had a private practice with Dr. Parisien and Dr. Dumont from approximately 1987-1997.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Muskie’s service with Jalbert; meeting Muskie at a Democratic field day; 1976 Senate campaign; Rumford’s opposition to Muskie memorial; 75th anniversary of Sisters of Charity; Lewiston farm culture during the Great Depression; Bernard L. “Barney” Harkins; Bill Harkins; Bates as an island in the 1940s; Bates football games; Bates science; Cultural Heritage; John Donovan and Frank Coffin; Bates professors active in Kiwanis and Rotary; Harold Rusk’s article about physical medicine department; Columbia professors in the physical training program; muscle reeducation; rehabilitation; transfer test; proposed overpass to connect St. Mary’s and Marcotte Home; Bates and CMG (later CMMC) in 1940s and 1950s; Bates and St. Mary’s; Bates and Lewiston; Sunday morning breakfasts at St. Mary’s cafeteria; and improved Bates-Lewiston relations.

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.