Henry Bourgeois was born July 22, 1945 in Marlborough, Massachusetts. He came from a Franco-American background and his grandparents were New England mill workers. His father was an entrepreneur and his business provided LPG gas for heating homes. Bourgeois grew up in Massachusetts and then went to college at St. Anselms in Manchester, New Hampshire and graduated as a double major in sociology and economics. He then successfully pursued his graduate degree in library science at the University of New Hampshire while working at the Nashua High School library in Nashua, New Hampshire. After he graduated, he moved to Lewiston, Maine to run the Lewiston Public Library. Lewiston was chosen as a recipient for the Model Cities program in 1968 and Bourgeois took over directing the program around 1969-1970 and left it in 1973. At the time of this interview he worked at the Maine Development Foundation.
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L'Hommedieu, Andrea, "Bourgeois, Henry oral history interview" (2000). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 45.