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James B. Longley papers

Identifier: MC089

Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised of material relating to James B. Longley's work with the Maine Management and Cost Survey, his 1974 campaign records and his gubernatorial office files. The materials document important aspects of the modern political history of Maine, such as the Maine Indian land-claims case, Longley's relations with the state legislature, and his attempts to streamline state government and promote economic development.


  • 1968-1980, n.d. 1975-1979


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

James B. Longley was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1924 to James Bernard and Catherine (Wade) Longley. His father was a street car conductor. Longley served in the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II, and graduated form Bowdoin College in 1947. Longley worked in a textile mill to help support his widowed mother while obtaining his education. He received a C.L.U. degree from the American College of Life Underwriters in 1954, and earned a law degree from the University of Maine.

Longley went into the insurance business in Lewiston, first as an agent for New England Life Insurance Company, and then as head of Longley Associates, which became on the largest insurance agencies in Maine. He was also active in law, finance, and banking. He was president of the Million Dollar Round Table and chairman of the Board of Editors of Query, and a member and past president of both the State of Maine Chapter of CLU and the Androscoggin Valley Life Underwriters Association.

Longley first came to public attention in 1973 when he chaired the Maine Management and Cost Survey, which studied the workings of state government and identified areas where money could be saved. Dissatisfied with state government's response to the survey's recommendations, Longley, a lifelong Democrat, decided to run for governor in 1974 as an independent. He pulled one of the biggest surprises of that Watergate year, defeating the Republican and Democratic nominees, including George Mitchell, Edmund S. Muskie's protege. He served one term as governor, from January 2, 1975 to January 3, 1979, carrying out administrative reforms and advocating for economy in government. He fulfilled another campaign promise when he opted not to run for re-election. After public service, Longley served as a guest lecturer on public affairs topics at various institutions of higher learning, including the universities of Wisconsin, Arkansas, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and Purdue University. Longley passed away August 16, 1980.


78 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is comprised of the gubernatorial papers of James B. Longley, independent governor of Maine from 1975 to 1979.

Organization and Arrangement

Acquisition and Custody Information

Gift of Helen Angela Walsh Longley, 1993. Accession No.: 032-93-01; 032-94-01.

Guide to the James B. Longley papers, 1968-1980, n.d.
Edited Full Draft
Kat Stefko
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America
207-755-5911 (Fax)