George J. Mitchell Oral History Project
Between 2008 and 2011, the George J. Mitchell Oral History Project created a collection of nearly two hundred spoken recollections and personal impressions from individuals who have known George Mitchell throughout the years. These oral histories document Senator Mitchell’s life and career from early childhood to the project’s close in 2011.
Hosted by the Bowdoin College Library’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, the project was directed by oral historian Andrea L’Hommedieu. Interviews were conducted by Ms. L’Hommedieu and field interviewers Diane Dewhirst, Mike Hastings, and Brien Williams. The recordings complement Senator Mitchell’s personal papers, which are also held by Bowdoin College.
Interviewees include Senator Mitchell's hometown (Waterville, Maine) acquaintances; the Senator and Mitchell family members; Bowdoin College classmates; Maine legislators; political associates and adversaries; campaign supporters; U.S. Senate colleagues and staff members; public agency officials; foreign policy specialists; law practice associates; public policy advocates; board members of various affiliations; and friends.
Topics reflect the experiences and associations of the interviewees: Mitchell’s childhood years; his education and legal career; Maine politics and campaigns; U.S. Senate service and staff relations; the Northern Ireland Peace Accord; the Mitchell Institute; his involvement with the Walt Disney Company, the Boston Red Sox, and Major League Baseball; the Red Cross 9/11 Liberty Fund; and Middle East diplomacy, among others.
Because oral history recordings are intrinsically informal, spontaneous, and candid, they characterize events and personalities in ways that are otherwise silent in the historical record. In particular, they capture personal knowledge and institutional memory about personalities, occasions, and processes that are rarely documented elsewhere. Thus, these oral histories provide an invaluable resource in understanding both the recent past and how individuals have played essential roles in shaping the present.
Sound recordings and transcripts of the interviews are freely available on the web:
(Some transcriptions remain works-in-progress; these are added to the website as they are completed.)
For further information or inquiries about the project, please contact us.