Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 034


Ruth Rowe was born in Waterville, Maine on June 6, 1914. Her parents were Hope [Chandler] and Harry Rowe. Hope was a housewife and Harry was the dean of Bates College. The family moved to Lewiston when Ruth was very young. She attended Lewiston public schools, graduating from Lewiston High School in 1932. She then went to Bates College, where she was active in the YWCA, debating, and student government. She majored in sociology and economics, and took several biology classes. She graduated from Bates in 1936, the same year as Edmund Muskie. She married Val Wilson, a Bates graduate, and moved across the country while he worked as a college administrator. In 1956, they invited Ed Muskie to speak at Skidmore College where Val was president. She eventually returned to Lewiston and became editor of the Bates Magazine. At the time of the interview, she edited the class notes section of the Bates Magazine, and remains active at Bates.

Scope and Content Note

The interview discusses such topics as Lewiston history; Dean Harry W. Rowe; Rowe family politics; “Townies” at Bates; Bates from 1932 to 1936; Ed Muskie as a classmate; Harry Rowe helping Ed Muskie pay tuition; Brooks Quimby; lessons from Bates Debate; racism in Lewiston; the relationship between Bates and Lewiston; religion in Lewiston; high school activities; professors at Bates; her work for the YWCA after college; social activities at Bates; 1956 Bates reunion at the Blaine House; the history of African-Americans and other minorities at Bates; gender divisions at Bates; the Bates Outing Club; Betty Winston Scott’s relationship with the Muskies; dining halls at Bates; the career of Val Wilson; fundamentalists in Baptist education; Democratic policies; the Bates alumni magazine; Ed Muskie’s visit to Skidmore; Frank Coffin; the development of Democratic politics in Maine; the Cribbage Club in Parker Hall; her relations with the Muskies through time; comparing Bates in the 1930s to the 1990s; and Muskie’s legacy.

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.