Clinton Blake “Bill” Townsend was born in New York City on August 12, 1927. Bill grew up in New York City and summered in Annisquam, Massachusetts and Thetford, Vermont. He attended St. Bernard's School in New York until the eighth grade, and then Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. He served in the Navy before entering Harvard, where he graduated in 1950. He then attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1953. He worked briefly in New York and Hartford after graduation. In 1957 he moved to Maine and began practicing law in Skowhegan. Soon after coming to Maine he became involved with environmental protection issues, and was an early member of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. He served as president of the Natural Resources Council from 1965 to 1971. At the time of interview he was still active in the Council and practiced law at the firm of Perkins, Townsend, Shay, and Talbot in Skowhegan, Maine.
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L'Hommedieu, Andrea, "Townsend, Clinton Blake "Bill" oral history interview" (2002). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 387.