Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 065


Joseph Biernacki attended Bates College where he met Ed Muskie and they later became college roommates and lifelong friends, enjoying fishing and golfing. Their two families knew each other well over the years. Joe majored in economics and sociology and played baseball and football in college, graduating in 1936. He was active in democratic politics and was president of the Naugatuck, Connecticut Young Democrats Club from 1937 to 1939. He worked for the Uniroyal Chemical Company for most of his career. He was locally involved with the national Muskie campaigns of vice-president and president in 1968 and 1972 respectively.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: meeting Ed Muskie in the cafeteria at Bates College; the honeymoon story of the Biernackis’ and the Muskies’; Muskie’s marriage in Waterville, Maine; fishing and golfing with Ed Muskie; Muskie’s sleeping habits in college; Ed Muskie playing a joke on his brother, Gene during college; Ed Muskie debating in Chase Hall; Muskie’s temper; Ed Muskie’s father in the tailoring business; playing cribbage with Ed Muskie; lack of laundry facilities at Bates College; tea dances at Bates; Muskie introducing him to President Jimmy Carter; Carter’s perceptions of Ed Muskie; the Muskie Archives dedication ceremony; Muskie attended Joe Biernacki’s wedding; good characteristics of Muskie, such as, honesty, dependability, popularity at Bates; Bates College political leniency toward Republican party (along with the rest of Maine); and his shared Polish ancestry with Muskie.

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.