Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 287


John N. Cole was born on February 26, 1923 in New York, New York to Helen (Dodd) and John N. Cole, Sr. His mother was a homemaker and department store window dresser. His father was a venture capital broker. He grew up and attended schools in New York City, but his family had strong ties to East Hampton. His father was a pioneering preservationist of the East Hamptons in the 1940s and 1950s, preserving two properties slated for development. Following school, Cole was a fisherman in New York for seven years. He then began to write, getting published in Esquire. He moved to Maine to become an editor at the Kennebunk Star in 1958. After making that paper profitable, he moved to Brunswick, Maine in 1960 to be editor for The Brunswick Times Record. In 1968, he and Peter Cox founded the Maine Times, which became a profitable and popular statewide weekly paper in Maine. At the Maine Times, Cole became friendly with Ed Muskie. He briefly left Maine to edit the World Paper in Boston. Upon his return to Maine, he continued to write editorials for the Maine Times, but as a freelance writer. In 1999, the Maine Times ceased publication. Publishing resumed after a two month hiatus, but the paper once again ceased publication early in 2002.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: early historic preservation of the Hamptons; writing an article for Esquire; beginning the Kennebunk Star newspaper; Times Record newspaper in Brunswick, Maine; John Reed, Ed Muskie; Muskie’s efforts to clean the environment; leadership within the Maine Democratic Party through the 1960s; creating the Maine Times newspaper; refinery and terminal issues in Maine; Muskie’s primary loss in Massachusetts; writing about Muskie in his later years; Democratic clambake; importance of environmental legislation on the nation; Bill Hathaway; Republican Party passing progressive legislation in the 1960s; Jim Longley; Maine politicians and politics since Muskie; and journalism in Maine.

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.