Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 093


Jere Clifford was born in Lewiston, Maine, in 1927. Clifford’s maternal grandfather was the District Attorney of Suffolk County, Massachusetts who prosecuted John Fitzgerald, John F. Kennedy’s grandfather. Clifford’s paternal grandfather built Lewiston City Hall and Bangor City Hall. Clifford attended Pettengill, Wallace, Frye, and Jordan schools and then Lewiston High School. He began the V-12 Naval Officer training school at Bates, then attended Tufts University and Boston University Law School. He did his internship in Washington D.C., and later practiced law with his father in Lewiston. He served as an alderman in 1952 and on the Lewiston Development Corporation and Corporation Council of Lewiston. He is married with two daughters and one adopted son.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: Muskie breaking his back and refusing to accept charity money collected by Al Lessard from Maine lawyers; 1954 Maine gubernatorial campaign; 1956 Maine gubernatorial campaign ; the Democratic party in Maine; the Maine Commission on Legal Needs; his father’s law office being involved in a rock throwing incident during the 1937 shoe workers’ strike; Depression- era Lewiston; Franco-American community as insular and in tune with preserving language/heritage; radio personalities; Lewiston Development Corporation- Geiger Bros., Lewiston’s industrial park, Bates Mill buildings, federal grants; Lewiston/Auburn Economic Growth Council ; LIFT- Lewiston Improvement for Tomorrow; his work for his brother Bill’s campaign for assistant District Attorney; Bob Clifford’s campaign for alderman, mayor and state senate; Paul Couture as alderman; the legal community in Lewiston as being casual, small, close-knit; Brann and Muskie as breaking Republican mold in Maine; John Maloney; Ernest Malenfant and the “Clifford Clique;” Judge Albert Beliveau, Sr.; and Louis Jalbert.

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.