Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 192


Sumner Peter Mills, III was born on June 3, 1943 in Farmington, Maine, to Katherine “Kay” and S. Peter Mills, II. Peter lived in Farmington until the age of ten when his family moved to Gorham to be closer to his father’s job, as U.S. Attorney in Portland. He graduated from Gorham High School in 1961, and went on to Harvard, and then Harvard Law School. To go to Harvard, he passed on an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy by Senator Margaret Chase Smith. His family was close to Senator Margaret Chase Smith. Peter is a member of the law firm Wright & Mills of Skowhegan, Maine. In 1994, he ran a successful race for State Senate, and at the time of the interview (2000) he was serving his third term. In 2006 he ran in the Republican primary for governor, losing to Chandler Woodcock.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Peter Mills, II; Janet Mills; Maine Republican party in the 1950s; Margaret Chase Smith; 1952 presidential election; Dwight Eisenhower; Peter Mills, II as U.S. Attorney; Bill Lewis; Smith’s lack of formal education; Mills family education; Smith’s style of legislating; McCarthy and the Declaration of Conscience; Smith in her later years; the rise of the Maine Democratic party and Ed Muskie; physical appearance effecting one’s viability as a candidate; Fred Payne and the appointment of Ed Gignoux to the U.S. Court; Muskie as an originator of legislation; and Clyde Smith.

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.