Bowdoin College, Driving, Friends, Longley, James B., Maine gubernatorial campaign (1974)
Shepard (Lifshitz) “Shep” Lee was born in Lewiston, Maine, on November 13, 1926, to Ethel and Joe Lifshitz. His parents were both Russian immigrants, his mother a housewife, and his father an automobile dealer. He attended Lewiston public schools, graduating in 1943. He then attended Bowdoin College, taking military leave from the college between 1945 and 1946 to enlist in the navy. He returned to Bowdoin after his service and graduated in 1947 with a degree in government and economics. At that time he and his brother changed their surname to Lee. Lee returned to Lewiston after graduation and went to work at his father’s automobile dealership. Soon after, he became active in Lewiston-Auburn Democratic politics. In 1956 he was campaign manager for Frank Coffin’s successful U.S. congressional campaign. In 1963, he bought out his father’s partner in the automobile dealership and eventually took over the entire business. Lee was an active Democrat during the political careers of Ed Muskie and George Mitchell. He was a key fund raiser for the Maine Democrats, and he lent many vehicles to campaigning candidates over the course of his career. He retired from his automobile dealership in the late 1990s.
Interview includes discussion of: family and educational background; Lee’s relationship with Ed Muskie; Lee’s friendship with George Mitchell; the 1974 Maine gubernatorial campaign; the Bette Davis story; President Lyndon Johnson in Maine; Northern Ireland; and Mitchell’s personality his personal life.
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