Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Mike Richard

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 121


James “Jim” Courtney Schoenthaler was born in Skowhegan, Maine, on August 11, 1927. His father, Frank C. Schoenthaler, died when James was very young. His mother, Delia Schoenthaler, ran a clothing store where Jane (Gray) Muskie was working when she met Ed Muskie. Jim and his brother William attended prep school in Massachusetts. After prep school, he spent a semester at Boston College before transferring to Bowdoin, graduating with a double degree in French and Economics. He started working in the Maine Office of Economic Opportunity under Governor John H. Reed., then he worked in a variety of state offices mainly concerned with labor and employment.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: family political and social views; boarding school; Boston College and religion; Bowdoin College; growing up in Waterville, Maine; John H. Reed; Office of Economic Opportunity; Labor Department; Opportunity Industrialization Centers of America; minimum wage laws; marriage to Betsy Carpenter; Ken Curtis; James Longley; confirmation process; tripartite commission on labor; Jimmy George; 2000 election; Republican control of Maine politics; Muskie as politician; recent jobs; Jane and Ed Muskie as friends; Ed Muskie’s temper; first meeting of Jane Gray and Ed Muskie; Muskie’s early political positions; Don Larrabee; Muskie’s final years; arguments with Muskie; property tax; and Muskie’s effect on the balance of political power in Maine.

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.