MITCHELL, George John (1933-)
Senate Years of Service: 1980-1995

MITCHELL, GEORGE JOHN, a Senator from Maine; born in Waterville, Kennebec County, Maine, August 20, 1933; attended the public schools; graduated, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1954; graduated, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., 1960; served in the United States Army Counter Intelligence Corps, Berlin, Germany, 1954-1956; admitted to the District of Columbia and Maine bars in 1960 and commenced practice in Portland, Maine, 1965; trial attorney, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., 1960-1962; executive assistant to Senator Edmund S. Muskie 1962-1965; practiced law, Portland, 1965-1977; assistant county attorney for Cumberland County, Maine, 1971; unsuccessful candidate for governor of Maine in 1974; United States Attorney for Maine 1977-1979; United States District Judge for Maine 1979-1980; appointed on May 17, 1980, as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Edmund S. Muskie for the term ending January 3, 1983; sworn in May 19, 1980; elected in 1982 and again in 1988 and served from May 17, 1980 to January 3, 1995; not a candidate for reelection in 1994; chairman, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (Ninety-ninth Congress); co-chairman, Democratic Policy Committee, Democratic Conference (One Hundredth through One Hundred Third Congresses); majority leader (1989-1995); Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for Economic Initiatives in Ireland (1995-2000); chairman, Sharm el-Sheikh International Fact-Finding Committee to examine crisis in Middle East (2000-2001); engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C. (1995-); awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 17, 1999; appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (2009-).

Bowdoin College Library
Brunswick, ME
Papers: 1948-. 930 linear feet. Correspondence, memoranda, reports, financial records, press materials, printed matter, audio cassette tapes, video tapes, microfilm, computer tapes, photographs, posters, and memorabilia documenting his professional and political career, including 1974 gubernatorial campaign, service as a senator, service as Senate majority leader, service as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair, and as Special Advisor on Northern Ireland. Finding aid. Some material restricted, consult finding aid, which is available on-line at

Oral History George J. Mitchell Oral History Project
2008-2011. Ca. 200 interviews with individuals documenting Senator Mitchell's life and career from early childhood to the project's close in 2011. 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.

Maine Historical Society

Portland, ME
Papers: Photograph of George Mitchell and Mayor Edward Bernstein in the Edward I. Bernstein collection, 1898-2014.

  • Cohen, William S., and George J. Mitchell. Men of Zeal: A Candid Inside Story of the Iran-Contra Hearings. New York: Viking, 1988.
  • Gould, Alberta. George Mitchell, In Search of Peace. Farmington, ME: Heritage Publishing, 1996.
  • Mitchell, George J. Not for America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and the Fall of Communism. New York: Kodansha International, 1997.
  • ___. World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth. New York: Scribner, 1991.
  • ___. Making Peace. New York: Knopf, 1999.
  • ___. The Negotiator: A Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015.