Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Don Nicoll

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 164


Janet Trafton Mills was born on December 30, 1947 to Katharine and S. Peter Mills II. Her mother was a schoolteacher, and her father served as a U.S. Attorney, appointed by Margaret Chase Smith. Mills graduated from Farmington High School in 1965, and went on to Colby College. She left Colby, and pursued the remainder of her undergraduate education in San Francisco and at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also spent time studying at the Sorbonne. She worked in Washington as a legal secretary before enrolling at the University of Maine School of Law in 1973. She graduated in 1976, and went to work in the Maine attorney general’s office. In 1980, Governor Joe Brennan appointed Mills to fill the District Attorney of Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties in Maine until 1994, when she sought the Democratic nomination to the United States Congress. She has been active in Democratic politics, and at the time of interview, practiced law with her brother Peter in Skowhegan, Maine.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: family background and education; working for the Attorney General’s office; enrolling as a Democrat in a Republican family; appointment as District Attorney; George Mitchell as a trial lawyer; Mills family political history; Mills family relationship with Margaret Chase Smith; Peter Mills II campaigns; Colby College; working in Washington, DC; University of Maine Law School 1973-1976; reasons for becoming a Democrat; 1980 Democratic Convention; excitement over a Muskie nomination; election of 1960 at the Mills home; Peter and Paul Mills; chairing Brennan’s 1994 campaign; liberal Republicans in Maine politics; Maine politics changing in the early 1990s; Peter Mills III’s political career; George Mitchell; women in Maine politics; and women in Maine law.

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.