Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 027


Irving Isaacson was born on August 7, 1915 in Auburn, Maine. His family was part of a small Jewish community within New Auburn. He attended public schools in Auburn and graduated from Bates College in 1936. While at Bates, his debate coach was Brooks Quimby and his debate partner was Edmund S. Muskie. World War II broke out after his graduation from Harvard Law School and he joined the Army. He was eventually transferred to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where he worked as a communications agent in the Eastern Zone of Germany following the end of the war. During this period, he met and later married Judith Magyar, an Auschwitz survivor who later became Dean of Students at Bates. Irving Isaacson is the author of Memoirs of an Amateur Spy, an account of his experiences in the OSS during and after the Second World War.

Scope and Content Note

The interview covers topics such as Isaacson’s family history and politics; professors at Bates College; the Bates debate team; Harvard Law School; the OSS; meeting his wife; New Auburn; anti-Semitism in Maine; bootlegging in Maine; Edmund Muskie; writing legal texts; Muskie and elections; Mt. Kilimanjaro; copper work; Frank Coffin as a sculptor; L.L. Bean; Brann & Isaacson; and interstate commerce.

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.