John Hathaway Reed was born at home on January 5, 1921 in Fort Fairfield, Maine, where he grew up. His father, Walter M. Reed, one of nine children, was a “seed” potato farmer as was his uncle, George W. Reed. John’s grandfather was also a potato farmer, coming from Madison, Maine. John farmed alongside his father and brother, Walter Reed, Jr. He attended the University of Maine, Orono and taught school in Hodgdon, Maine until his enlistment in the Navy in 1942. Before Reed was elected to the Maine House in 1954, the same year Muskie became governor, he was president of the Hospital Association and director of the bank in Fort Fairfield. In the Maine Legislature, he served on both the Taxation and Agriculture Committees. In 1956 he ran for the state senate and won in a multiple seat election, then became president of the senate. He became governor of Maine in 1959 to finish the term of Clinton “Doc” Clauson, who died unexpectedly mid-term, and won reelection in 1960 against Frank Coffin and in 1962 against Maynard Dolloff. In 1966 he was appointed to the National Transportation and Safety Board by Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1974 he became Ambassador to Sri Lanka under Gerald Ford. In 1976, he became Director of Government Relations with the Associated Builders and Contractors. In 1981 he was appointed by Ronald Reagan as Ambassador of Sri Lanka again, staying for four years. At the time of this interview he was living in Washington, D.C.
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Nicoll, Don, "Reed, John H. oral history interview" (2003). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 338.