Edmund Sixtus Muskie was born in Rumford, Maine, on March 28, 1914. His father, Stephen, was a tailor who came from Poland with the name of Marciszewski. The named was shortened by immigration officials to Muskie and later officially adopted by the new US citizen.
A Phi Beta Kappa at Bates College, Ed Muskie obtained his law degree from Cornell University in 1939. He served as a junior officer on a destroyer in World War II.
Returning to Maine to practice law in Waterville after the war, he was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1946, being chosen to run by local Democratic leaders looking for fresh candidates for the Legislature.
He became the national Democratic committeeman from Maine -- a strongly Republican state -- in 1952. Two years later the party nominated him for governor. Mr. Muskie became Maine's first Democratic governor in 20 years, and in 1959 he became the first popularly elected Democratic US senator in Maine's history.
Mr. Muskie's senatorial experience in foreign affairs includes membership on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a period as chairman of the subcommittee on arms control and international organizations.
In 1968 he was chosen by Democratic presidential nominee Hubert H. Humphrey as his running-mate.
In the post-election period, Mr. Muskie's new-found national prestige made him a major spokesman for the Democratic Party. He was an early entry into the race for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination -- a bid that ended in disaster when the senator, responding in Concord, N.H., to an unflattering article on his wife in William Loeb's Manchester Union Leader, broke into tears. Although he was the top vote-getter in the New Hampshire primary, he soon dropped out of the race.