Muskie's Early Life and Family

Stephen Marciszewski (1883-1956) was born in Russian-controlled Poland. Around age 12, hewasapprenticed to a master tailor to learn a trade with which he could support himself abroad.  At his father’s insistence, Marciszewski left Poland at the age of 17 in order to avoid army conscription.  He then spent a few years in England before immigrating  to the U.S., where he changed his last name to Muskie because, he said, it was easier for Americans to pronounce. Now a master tailor himself, Stephen Muskie opened his own shop in Rumford, which provided financial stability for his growing family.  Decades later, Edmund Muskie reminisced about working in the shop and listening to his father’s political discourses.  He described his father as unapologetically outspoken in his support of Democratic Party ideology, even though it conflicted with many of his customers’ own Republican beliefs.

In this recording, Muskie speaks about his father's political views during an interview on August 6, 1991.

Josephine Cznarnecka Muskie (1891-1973) was the third of eleven children born in a Polish-American family in Buffalo, New York, where her father worked on a railroad.  In Journeys, Edmund Muskie wrote that when his parents married in 1911, “she made it clear to him that she couldn’t cook and she couldn’t sew…My father made it clear to her that she would learn …[and]she became superb in both departments.” In an interview with Voice of America in 1968, Josephine Muskie told the story of how she came to Maine as a new bride:

Right after the wedding, the next day, we came to Rumford, Maine.  That was supposed to be our honeymoon. My husband promised that he would bring me back to Buffalo, but here it is, 57 years have gone by, and I’m still in Rumford, and my husband is gone, too.

 

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