Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Jim Ross

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 005


Vito Puiia was born on September 24, 1914 in Rumford, Maine, the third of eight sons. His parents were both Italian immigrants, his father settling in the Rumford area to work for Mr. Chisholm, building the Oxford Paper Mill. His mother was a homemaker. He was a classmate of Ed Muskie’s, meeting Ed in middle school, and sharing a homeroom until graduation. They played basketball together, were both members of the science club, and were members of the National Honor Society. After High School, Puiia served in the military. Upon discharge, he returned to Rumford and worked in the shoe repair trade.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: building of the Oxford Paper Company; homeroom at Stephens High School; Class schedule at Stephens High School; Muskie teaching classes in high school; respect for Muskie from his peers; recreation and entertainment in Rumford in the 1930s; the Rumford Mechanics Institute; Muskie’s demeanor in high school; Rumford geography (the sections of town); Alfred Gagnon and his fishing trips with Ed; Stephen Muskie’s tailor shop: physical description; buying a suit from Stephen Muskie; Muskie family relationship; ethnic backgrounds and relations of Rumford; school dances; Muskie as an athlete: basketball and track; Muskie studying at the Lewiston basketball tournament; Rumford basketball team; social observations of Muskie in high school; Muskie’s siblings; Muskie family’s religion; churches in Rumford; Muskie’s academic competition; paper based economy; the Androscoggin River of the past; changes in the Androscoggin River; Rumford Winter Carnival; and Muskie’s political aspirations in high school.

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.