Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Don Nicoll

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 249


Joanne Amnott Hoffmann was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1936. Her father was the Chief of Police in Lewiston, and her mother was a housewife. Joanne attended parochial schools in Lewiston until high school, and then attended and graduated from Lewiston High School. She continued her education at the Auburn School of Commerce, learning shorthand and typing. She was briefly employed at the Pepperill Manufacturing Company in the purchasing department, before becoming a legal secretary. She first worked for Harris Isaacson, and then worked in the firm of Clifford and Clifford under William Clifford. In 1959, she moved to Washington to become Ed Muskie’s personal secretary. She stayed in the Senate office until 1965, when she married Frank “Nordy” Hoffmann, a Washington lobbyist and Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate from 1973 to 1981. The Hoffmanns and the Muskies maintained personal friendships in later years.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: growing up in Lewiston; father as a police chief; working for Harris Isaacson; working for William Clifford; getting a job as Muskie’s secretary; Marjorie Hutchinson; Senate office staff in 1959; Gayle (Fitzgerald) Cory; anecdote about Muskie’s first few weeks in Washington; comparison between the U.S. Senate and the Clifford law office; problems setting up the Senate office; close knit freshman Senate class of 1958; troubles with Lyndon Johnson; committee appointments; type of work Hoffmann was responsible for; babysitting the Muskie children; working with Marjorie Hutchinson in Maine; George Mitchell; John Donovan; marrying Nordy Hoffmann; Nordy’s career in the steel workers lobby; Nordy’s football career; Nordy’s relationship with Ed Muskie; Nordy’s interest in labor; Muskie’s temper; mood of the Capitol in the 1960s; mood of the Capitol today; involvement in the 1968 campaign; Chicago convention; Nordy as Sergeant-at-Arms 1973-1981; Muskie’s career after 1972; changing over to the State Department; disappointment of the election of 1980; being with the Muskies as the Presidential returns came in; Carter’s contact with Muskie through the night; Nordy Hoffmann’s job loss after the election; and Muskie’s legacy.

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.