Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 086


Eugene Mawhinney was born in Jonesboro, Maine in 1921 to Estella (Whitney) and Bert Mawhinney. His father worked in the sawmills of the Jonesboro area. During the Depression, his family moved to Machias so his father could work at the Ford sales office. They returned to Jonesboro in 1931 and he resumed work at a sawmill. He took a post-graduate high school year at Machias High School, and then enrolled in Machias Normal School. In his second year, he took a principal’s position in Mechanic Falls. He was then drafted and served in the Army. During his time in the Army, he completed a year and a half of training in electrical engineering at Clemson College. He then served in a signal corps company. Upon his return to the United States, he married his wife, Anne, and completed his undergraduate studies and master’s program at Syracuse. He went on to the University of Illinois for his Ph.D. in political science and constitutional law. He taught in Missouri, and at Elmira College, and in 1959, accepted a position at the University of Maine at Orono. He has served on two commissions in the Maine State Government. At the time of this interview, he was teaching at the University of Maine.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Jonesboro, Maine, including during the Depression; the lumber industry in Maine; Louis Brann visiting Machias; Mawhinney’s mother as a suffragette; Maine party politics of the 1930s and 1940s; college in the 1940s; military education and experiences; post-graduate academics; returning to the University of Maine; administrative policy commission; judicial committee; the probate system in Maine; Ed Muskie at the University of Maine, Orono commencement with the Foreign Minister of Canada; Muskie’s college student internships; Margaret Chase Smith’s lack of college interns; Muskie’s legacy on Maine politics; and Don Nicoll.

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.