Mary Lou Blecharczyk Papers
Politician and lawyer, East Providence, Rhode Island
Papers, 1943-1992, bulk in the 1970s
Size: 2 ft.
Catalog number: MSS 1061
Processed by: Lori Salotto, November 2000
©Rhode Island Historical Society
Mary Louise (Fillo) Blecharczyk (b. 1927) was born in Rhode Island to Anna Helen (Rabatin) and Stephen Fillo. She was one of ten children (two died in infancy). She had six brothers: Stephen F., Rudolph J., Alfred E., William E., Arthur E., and James R. and one sister: Elisabeth "Elsie" Fillo.
Mary Louise graduated from St. Patrick’s High School in 1943. After high school she worked at the Davol Rubber Company in the payroll department and then attended Rhode Island College of Education and received her Ed. B. in 1947. As a senior in college she served as the Assistant Editor for the college newspaper: The Anchor.
She began her teaching career in the East Providence schools in 1947. Because of the employment policies at that time, she was required to quit her teaching position when she married Walter Blecharczyk in 1951. Walter and Mary Lou had five children: Carolyn A., twins Mike and Susan, Ruth, and Mary.
Mary Lou continued her education at Rhode Island College and received her master’s degree in 1970. She also became active in politics through several avenues. She was active in PTA. She was a charter member of the Wampanoag Association, 1965 to 1971, organized to assist Herb Silva first be elected to the East Providence School Committee and then as a Representative from District 85 to the Rhode Island Legislature. She was a Board Member on the Junior Council of the Riverside Junior Women’s Club, 1966 to 1967 and helped found their Teacher's Award. Mary Lou was also a charter member of the Rhode Island Women's Political Caucus’ Speaker’s Bureau and a state board member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 1972 to 1977.
Ms. Blecharczyk’s political momentum evolved with her election to the At-Large seat on the East Providence City Council in 1972. She served on the 5-member council until 1974. She also served as the Assistant Mayor during 1972-1974.
After her time on the council she remained on the political scene throughout the 1970s working on women’s issues and projects of importance to the city of East Providence. In 1975 she was appointed Commissioner of Jurisprudence of the Future. She was a long time member of the Citizen’s League of East Providence. She served as its second female president from 1975 to 1977. She served on the Legislative Subcommittee of the Governor Permanent Advisory Commission on Women during at least 1976 to 1978. She was the Legislative Chairman of the Rhode Island Division of the American Association of American Women from 1977 to1979, and was a member of the League of Women Voters. She worked as a Special Education Research Analyst in 1976 and then, in 1978, went on to work as a Service Coordinator at Quality Care, Inc. until 1979. At the age of 52, Mary Lou returned to school to study for her law degree which she received in 1982 from Suffolk Law School in Boston, Mass. She was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1985.
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Scope and content:
This collection, ranging from 1943 to1992, is divided into three series: personal papers, political papers, and AAUW. The bulk of the material deals with political issues during the 1970s. Series one, personal papers, contains a Rhode Island bar application, high school and college papers, correspondence, family/children papers, and material relating to a trip to Vienna, Austria. In this series a few of the correspondence are from Ms. Blecharczyk’s brothers, who were in the service during WWII. Series two, political papers, contains mostly material on East Providence politics during the 1970s. Other material includes Ms. Blecharczyk’s 1972 and 1974 election campaigns for city council, women’s issues, the Citizen’s League of East Providence, and the Wampanoag Association. Series three, AAUW, contains papers dealing with the Rhode Island division of the AAUW, such as by-laws, directories, guidelines, meeting notices, minutes, newsletters, notes, and policies.
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These records were donated by Mary Louise Blecharczyk in October 2000.
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Folders have not been numbered, as additional material may be donated in the future.
See the collection file for detailed transfer lists for material sent to Graphics and the Printed collection. Photos in a scrapbook were photocopied and kept with the scrapbook and the originals were sent to Graphics.
This donation originally included many newspaper articles on various political topics dealing with East Providence. Some of the clippings were photocopied and retained in the collection to provide researchers with general information on Providence City Council activities from 1972 to 1974. All newspaper clippings were then returned to the donor, as the RIHS library has the original newspapers on microfilm. For more information on East Providence and state politics, please refer to appropriate microfilmed newspapers.
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Series 1: Personal papers
Application the Rhode Island bar, 1982
“Defamation Redefined by the Constitutional Privilege of New York Times vs. Sullivan and its Progeny: Some Effects and Implications for an Individual’s Right to Reputation," 1982, paper written for a class at Suffolk Law School
College papers: financial, 1979-1982
Correspondence, 1982-1988 and undated
Diplomas, 1943, 1947
Family/children papers, 1969-1982
Miscellaneous, 1964-1978 and undated
Accident reports, 1964-1972
Invitation and commencement booklet: Saint Mary’s Academy, 1974
Invitation to a gala dinner given by Mayor Cianci, 1975
Central Junior High School: open house booklet, 1978
List of historical sites to be marked, undated
Remembrances, 1964-1967 and undated
Rhode Island College of Education: scrapbook, 1943-1947
Saint Patrick’s High School: information , 1943 and undated
Vienna trip, 1975
Series 2: Political papers
All-American city award, 1960 and undated
John Anderson: petition drive, 1980
Anne Ide Fuller Library, 1966
Rhode Island banking crisis: newspaper articles, 1991-1992
Background for possible speeches, 1964-1992
Citizen’s League of East Providence, 1963-1977
Citizen’s League of East Providence: charter changes, 1978
Congress of Cities conference, 1973
East Providence: bi-centennial committee, 1976
East Providence city council: minutes, 1972
East Providence city council: miscellaneous, 1972, including contracts, correspondence, and memos
East Providence city council: minutes, 1973
East Providence city council: miscellaneous, 1973, including correspondence, memos, and newspaper articles
East Providence city council: minutes, 1974
East Providence city council: miscellaneous, including memos and newspaper articles, 1974
East Providence charter commission: minutes, 1954
East Providence charter changes: newspaper articles, 1991
East Providence charter study, 1973-1974
East Providence zoning board probe, 1973-1976
Election: campaign, 1972
Election: campaign, 1972
Election: congratulatory notes, 1972
Election: campaign, 1974
Election statistics: general and non-partisan primary 1964-1970
Election statistics: general, non-partisan primary, and special, 1972-1978
“Gospel by Design: Strategies for Service,” 1973 an address by Margaret H. Marshall to the National Assembly of Women Religious
I.P.I.U.M. (Implementation Plan for Instructional Use of Microcomputers) Committee, 1983
Libraries: East Providence, 1972-1973
Libraries: national commission, 1973
Libraries: Rhode Island, 1973-1974
Licensing of private detectives, undated
PTA meeting booklets: Brightride-Kent Heights-Warren Avenue, 1956-1963
Providence river and harbor: environmental statement, 1973
Reference material, 1947-1990
Rhode Island Land Company: phase 2- Village Green, 1972
Rhode Island advisory committee on women, 1972-1991
Rhode Island Women's Political Caucus,
“76 Committee - Voters for Silva,” 1976
Southeast drainage area, 1973
Special legislative committee report, 1978
Teacher certification, 1947-1974
Wampanoag Association, 1965-1971
Women's issues: comparable worth, 1986
Women’s issues, miscellaneous, 1973-1975 and undated
Business, 1975 and undated
Women's issues: policewomen, 1973, 1976
Women's issues: politics, 1973-1976 and undated
Series 3: American Association of University Women
Action plans, guidelines, leadership training, newsletter, 1983-1984
Rhode Island Division:
Legal advocacy fund, 1979-1989
Minutes and newsletters, 1982-1983
Goals, mission, policies, 1982-1983
Certificate of achievement, 1985
Directory of members, 1981-1989
Meeting notices, 1984-1989
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American Association of American Women.
Citizen’s League of East Providence.
Driscoll, James A.
East Providence (R.I.)
East Providence (R.I.) - Politics and government.
East Providence Charter Commission.
East Providence Zoning Board.
Marriage customs and rites.
National Assembly of Women Religious.
Rhode Island College (1960- )
Rhode Island Land Company.
Rhode Island Women's Political Caucus.
Saint Patrick’s High School.
United States - History - World War, 1939-1945.
Women - Rhode Island.
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