Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Robert Ruttmann

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 198


Neil Rolde was born on July 25, 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were L. Robert and Lillian Lewis Rolde. Neil’s earliest exposure to politics was from his parents, who were both moderate Republicans. However, he did not become really politically active until after he went to Phillips Andover and then Yale. At that time, he switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party at the behest of his friends, who were liberal political activists. After getting his Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University, Rolde married and moved to York, Maine. He became very involved with the Maine Democratic Party and worked for Ken Curtis before being elected to the Maine Legislature in 1972.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: family political and social views; family and education background; evolution of political attitudes; William F. Buckley; Yale students for Eisenhower (1952); Adlai Stevenson; McCarthy hearings; graduate school; marriage; moving to Maine; first exposure to Senator Muskie; change in political beliefs; Stan Tupper; Democratic Party in York, Maine; 1964 elections; straight ticket voting—Big Box voting; Democratic electoral success in 1964; working for Ken Curtis; Dickey Lincoln Dam; impression of Senator Muskie; argument between Muskie and worker for Elmer Violette; Muskie as a public figure; Muskie as a politician; crying incident; 1972 presidential campaign; Ken Curtis; the end of straight ticket voting; switch from Republican to Democratic control of Maine; Muskie’s joke; Bill Cohen; evolution of Maine politics; run for Legislature vs. Cohen; Nixon’s dirty tricks against Muskie; and the 1968 vice presidential campaign.

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.