Interview with Bill Butler

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William "Bill" Butler


Born July 31, 1920; aged 83 at time of interview, and died February 18, 2008.



Birth Place

Terra Haute, Indiana


Aurora, Maine

Occupation/ Work History

He was trained as a metallurgical engineer (B.S. in Metallurgy from the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, NY) and worked for the Curtis-Wright Corporation and as a technical writer for the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee during the 1940s. He moved to Maine and became a woodcutter in the 1950s. Was a leader of the Maine Woodsman’s Association and forestry conservation activist.

Mill or Principal Employer

Self-employed logging contractor

Mill Location

State of Maine


Woodcutters Strike, Maine Labor History, Maine Paper Industry


Butler was a key leader and founder of the Maine Woodmen's Association (MWA). The interview includes a description of working conditions for small logging contractors from the 1950s through the time of the 1975 strike. Butler also provides a detailed account of the 1975 strike itself.


Butler was perhaps the strike's most colorful leader, and he provides a potent, blow by blow, account of the strike, especially dealings with the courts and many meetings with Maine Governor James Longley. He was an ardent advocate of the view that the key problem facing Maine loggers was the presence of a large number of French Canadian guest workers hired by paper companies. Also was a critic of the clear cutting of huge swaths of forest by Maine paper companies.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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