Muskie, Edmund S., Muskie Senate reelection campaign (1964), Muskie Senate reelection campaign (1970), Muskie vice presidential campaign (1968), Presidential campaign (1972)
Donald Eugene "Don" Nicoll was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 4, 1927, and grew up in West Roxbury. He is the son of George and Mary Nicoll. He attended Boston English High School and was graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in 1949, majoring in history with a minor in government. Don met his future wife, Hilda Farnum, also a Colby student, in 1944 when they worked in the resort town of Ocean Park, Maine. Nicoll began his graduate work at Pennsylvania State College in 1949, concentrating on American history. Starting in 1951, he and his family settled in Buckfield, Maine, where he picked apples and taught part time at Stephen's High School, located in Rumford. After a brief career in radio in Lewiston, Maine, he became executive secretary of the Democratic State Committee at the request of Frank M. Coffin, who has just become chairman. When Coffin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956, Nicoll went to Washington, DC, as his administrative assistant, continuing in that post through 1960. After Coffin’s defeat in the 1960 Maine gubernatorial election, Nicoll joined Senator Edmund S. Muskie staff, serving in various capacities until he left the Senate office in 1972. From 1972 until his retirement in 2005, he worked as a program and policy planner. He also volunteered for numerous public policy projects and served on a variety of boards and commissions, including the Maine Special Commission on Government Reorganization, the Board of Visitors of the University of Southern Maine's Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, and the Governor's Allagash Wilderness Waterway Working Group. From 1998-2005, he was the director of the Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Project at Bates College.
Interview includes discussion of: how George Mitchell was initially hired onto Senator Muskie’s staff; Mitchell’s duties in Senator Muskie’s office; Muskie’s 1964 Senate reelection campaign; the 1968 presidential primary campaign; anecdote about Nicoll’s debate negotiations with the Republican candidate; Muskie’s 1970 reelection campaign; tensions between campaigning and legislating, and the respective staff; the 1972 presidential primary; Mitchell’s role in these various campaigns; and discussion about acquaintances and colleagues who should be interviewed for the George J. Mitchell Oral History Project.
This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.