Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Don Nicoll

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 052


John Lewis Martin was born on June 5, 1941 in Eagle Lake, Maine. At the age of three, his parents moved from Eagle Lake to Brownville Junction. He grew up speaking French and English. Martin graduated from Fort Kent Community School in 1959 and afterwards spent two years at the University of Maine, Fort Kent, before transferring to the University of Maine at Orono (UMO). After his graduation from UMO in 1963, Martin stayed there to begin graduate work and also won a position in the state legislature the next year. His election (as a Democrat) caused some short-lived tension between Martin and his parents, who were Republicans. He stayed in the Maine House of Representatives until 1995 and was Speaker of the House for nineteen and a half years. During that period, he had a number of other jobs, including teaching at various colleges and high schools in northern Maine and serving as an aide to Senators Edmund S. Muskie and George Mitchell.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: family history; legislative career overview; teaching and other early jobs; family involvement in politics; childhood experiences with ethnicity; social cliques at college; anti-French professor at UMO; political activism at UMO; influences before college; summer work after high school; Floyd Powell; influences at Orono; friends at Orono; Democratic state legislators in the ‘60s and ‘70s; early memories of Muskie, dual membership in Young Democrats and Young Republicans; Chubb Clark’s loyalty test; early work for Muskie; confrontation with Howard Hughes’ aide; liaison work with Secret Service; Muskie’s ‘68 campaign; ‘70 and ‘72 campaigns; impressions of other members of Muskie’s staff; Dickey Lincoln and Allagash Waterway projects; and his work in Connecticut.

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.