Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Mike Richard

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 115


Paul Mitchell was born in Westfield, Massachusetts on January 20,1926 to Mintaha “Mary” Hasad and George John Mitchell. His father was Irish, but adopted by a Lebanese family. His mother was Lebanese. In 1930, his family moved to Waterville to care for George Sr.’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 J. 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-5 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 then got a Masters 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 Julian 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: volunteering for Ed Muskie’s campaigns 1959-1976; state of party politics in Maine in 1999; changes in the Democratic Party since 1959; Waterville municipal government 1959-1999; Waterville mayors in the late 1950s and early 1960s; urban renewal; Waterville Sentinel and Waterville urban renewal; Muskie’s involvement in Waterville’s urban renewal; Paul Julian; insurance industry; Waterville area political leaders; John Jabar; people swapping political parties for convenience rather than conviction; comparison of Waterville to similar Maine communities; Muskie’s impact on the environment; and Muskie’s legacy.

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.