Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 081


Mary Elizabeth McAleney was born on March 18, 1945 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her parents, Helen Irene Twombly and William Deehan McAleney, were respectively a Works Progress Administration worker and a U.S. Customs officer. McAleney came from a strongly Democratic family and was politically active from a young age. She was sent from her home near Vanceboro to St. Joseph’s boarding school in South Portland, and from there she went to Merrimac College. After her graduation, she taught high school, first at St. Joseph’s and then at Catherine McAuley High School. After eight years of teaching, she got divorced, quit teaching, and went into political work. She quickly rose through the ranks in Senator Muskie’s ‘76 campaign, and worked afterwards for state majority leader Jim Tierney. Afterwards, she worked with George Mitchell, the Maine State Employee’s Association, and other assorted Maine political figures and groups.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: McAleney’s family history and political and social views; Kennedy’s and Muskie’s Catholicism; her boarding school and college experience; Guy Twombly (grandfather); her earliest meeting with Muskie (1954); attitudes towards Catholic politicians in Maine; grandmother (Guy Twombly’s wife); beginning of official involvement in politics; Muskie’s ‘76 campaign; working for Jim Tierney; ‘78 gubernatorial race; State Employees’ Association; Louis Jalbert; George Mitchell; conflicts with State Employees’ Association; working for Mitchell; ‘88 Senate campaign; running Joe Brennan’s campaign; Mitchell’s positions in the Senate; Mitchell’s Senate fights; working for the Small Business Administration; Martha Muskie; driving Senator Muskie around; Marge Hutchinson; Muskie’s attitudes towards his staff; and Muskie’s influences on Maine.

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.