Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 089


William Clifford was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1929. He attended Frye School, Lewiston Junior High School, Jordan Grammar School and Lewiston High School where he graduated in 1946. He then attended Bowdoin College. He served in the army for two years during the Korean War. He attended Boston University Law School under the G.I. Bill. He was the assistant County Attorney under Larry Raymond and then the County Attorney for six years. He served in the 105th Legislature. He also served in the Senate from 1970-1971. He practiced law with his father from 1956-72.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: the Maine legislature, 1946-49; 1954 Maine gubernatorial campaign; environmental protection (Clean Water Bill); Republican party in Maine; Democratic party in Maine; recollections of the Lewiston school system; Catholic influence of girls being sent to boarding high school; John D. Clifford; being teased about being wealthy; Grandmother’s chauffer; Lewiston predominantly working class families (mills, farm families); no ethnic tensions; Irish/French in grade school; John D. Clifford, Jr. starting a law practice in 1914 and William Clifford, Sr. following a year later; judgeship appointments being political, rather than merit, based; his impression of Judge Albert Beliveau; Malenfant’s use of “Clifford Clique” as rich vs. poor political weapon, especially during the Malenfant/Lessard mayoral race; his impression of Louis Jalbert; an incident with Bates college affiliates backing McCarthy instead of Humphrey (1968 Maine Democratic Caucus); other legislators’ impressions of him in Augusta; Muskie as not being personable; Maine in opposition to Midwest (Republican) and other Democratic states; and having an even playing field between Democrats and Republicans because of Muskie

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.