Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 063


Richard W. Sampson was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Winsor and Pauline Sampson. He attended Bowdoin College and graduated as a math major. After graduation, he studied meteorology at MIT and the University of Illinois and got a commission in the Air Force as a meteorologist. In 1952, he got a job teaching mathematics at Bates College. He married Jean Sampson, the founder of the Catalyst Organization, a group that seeks to expand opportunities for women in business, education and other fields. She was also active in the Maine Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) and other social and political action groups. Because of those connections, Richard and Jean Sampson became close personally to Edmund S. Muskie, Frank Coffin and other major Maine political players.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Sampson family history; his education; Jean Sampson; political affiliations; Sampson’s parents’ influences; family and politics; Catalyst; University of Maine system; Ed Muskie; political changes in Maine; Jean Sampson’s involvement in the Maine Civil Liberties Union; Shepard Lee; the American Civil Liberties Union; the first meeting of Richard and Jean Sampson; Jean Sampson’s political history; Louis Scolnik; social progress; Frank and Ruth Coffin; and political discussions 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.