Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 094


Paul Mitchell was born in Westfield, Massachusetts on January 20, 1926 to Mintaha “Mary” Saad and George John Mitchell. His father was Irish, but adopted by a Lebanese family. His mother was also Lebanese. In 1930, his family moved to Waterville to care for George’s mother. Paul’s father worked for Central Maine Power in the Waterville gas operation. His mother worked at various textile mills. There are five children in Paul’s family, including Senator George Mitchell, Jr. They grew up at first in the King’s Court neighborhood of Waterville in a predominantly Lebanese community. They then moved to a home on Front Street in Waterville. Paul attended the Waterville public schools through high school, graduating in 1944. He was able to complete his high school education by enrolling in the Navy V-12 Program, which brought him to Bates College for three semesters after graduation. He opted out of a military career in 1946, and returned to Maine to complete his education at the University of Maine at Orono, graduating in 1949. He next received a Master’s in Education at Columbia University.

He began a career in the Insurance industry, working in New York and Boston before moving back to Waterville in 1959. There he worked for Paul Jullien at the J.B. Freel Insurance Agency. He served two terms as Alderman in Waterville from 1959 to 1962, and served as the Executive Director of the Waterville Urban Renewal Program from 1962 to the late 1970s. At the time of the interview, he owned the GHM Insurance Agency in Waterville, the successor firm to the J.B. Freel Company.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Mitchell family history; the Lebanese community of Waterville; ethnic diversity of Waterville; Waterville in the 1940s and 1950s; George Mitchell, Sr.’s advice; families in small Waterville neighborhoods; talents of the Mitchell children; Waterville public Schools; serving out of high school in World War II; Bates College V-12 Unit; prejudice in schools and the Waterville community; importance of education; churches in Waterville; and Waterville’s economic decline.

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.