Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Don Nicoll

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 253


John E. “Jeb” Byrne was born January 15, 1925 in New York City. He went to public schools in Larchmont, New York, attended Iona Prep School, and then served in World War II for two years. Byrne graduated in 1949 from Marquette University College of Journalism on the GI Bill. Both of his parents were Democrats and politically active. Byrne became the Editor of Iona News, which he did for two years, then started a daily Catholic newspaper in Kansas City, Missouri in 1950 called the Sun Herald. He also worked for UPI. Byrne moved to Maine in 1951 to run a one-man UPI bureau. He was Governor Clint Clauson’s press secretary in 1958.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: 1954 Maine gubernatorial campaign; 1955-1956 Muskie’s first term as governor; 1956 Maine gubernatorial campaign; 1957-1958 Muskie’s 2nd term as governor; 1960 John F. Kennedy-Lyndon B. Johnson presidential campaign; Republican Party in Maine; Democratic Party in Maine; Maine Legislature (early 1950s); media (UPI, AP, Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News); liquor scandal-Governor Payne; Westchester County politics in 1930s and 1940s; discussion of Muskie’s 1954 gubernatorial race and the use of television; and Governor Clauson’s endorsement of JFK in 1959.

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.