Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Don Nicoll

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 298


Don Oberdorfer was born May 28, 1931 in Atlanta, Georgia to Dorothy Bayersdorfer Oberdorfer and Donald Oberdorfer, Sr. He grew up there, attending public elementary and high schools and then Princeton University, graduating in 1952. He was immediately commissioned as a second lieutenant for the Korean War but arrived at the time of the armistice and did not face action. After, he used his Army pay to travel around the world. In 1955 he returned and got his first newspaper job in Charlotte, North Carolina and stayed in journalism until 1993, when he retired from the Washington Post.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Oberdorfer family background and education; Charlotte, North Carolina’s Observer; Oberdorfer’s coverage of Vietnam; Washington Post and Ben Bradley; Muskie’s 1972 campaign; Oberdorfer’s article “What Happened to the Muskie Campaign,” July 14, 1972 for the Washington Post; Oberdorfer’s assignment to the Nixon 1972 campaign; Humphrey’s 1972 campaign; problems with the Muskie 1972 campaign; Oberdorfer’s personal journal/record of his work; Secretary of State Muskie; Muskie and Oberdorfer on “Face the Nation”; the effect of Nixon’s “dirty tricks” on Muskie’s 1972 campaign; and Senator Mike Mansfield as majority leader and Oberdorfer’s biographical work on him.

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.