Mary Ellen Welch

Mary Ellen Welch (1941 - 2019)

Mary Ellen Welch was a prominent community activist in East Boston and former teacher at Hugh R. O'Donnell Elementary School in East Boston. She advocated for the community of East Boston on many fronts including waterfront development, affordable housing, public schools, and the expansion of Logan International Airport.

She helped found and also led groups including Airport Impact Relief, the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH), the East Boston Greenway Council, and the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association. NOAH serves to support East Boston Residents and communities with affordable housing strategies, environmental justice, community planning, leadership development, and economic development opportunities. In 2000, she was honored for her contributions through the receipt of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Merit Award.

Tributes to Mary Ellen Welch:

Boston Globe

East Boston Times 


Commonwealth Magazine


Photo by John Tlumacki, Boston Globe

Mary Ellen Welch in the Archive

In 2013 Mary Ellen Welch donated her papers to the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections. The Mary Ellen Welch papers document her involvement with the East Boston planning and activism in relation to the Massachusetts Port Authority's Logan International Airport expansion, pollution, and noise. Additionally, the collection contains limited materials documenting her participation with the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and the East Boston Greenway. Materials include correspondence, flyers, newspaper clippings, notes, and reports. Additionally, some of her writing can be found in Memories of the East Boston Community News in which she contributed a piece in memory of another East Boston community activist, Anna DeFronzo and reflections on the history and legacy of the East Boston Community News as well.