1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 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

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            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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Processing note:

            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

Box 1

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, 1943-1945

Correspondence, 1962-1967

Correspondence, 1972-1974

Correspondence, 1976-1978

Correspondence, 1982-1988 and undated

Diplomas, 1943, 1947

Family/children papers, 1969-1982

Miscellaneous, 1964-1978 and undated

            Accident reports, 1964-1972

            Receipts, 1971,1974

            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

            Resume, 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

Box 1

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

Correspondence, 1972-1974

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

Box 2

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

            Athletics, 1974

            Business, 1975 and undated 

            Cartoon, undated

            Feminism, 1975

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

Policies, 1986

Rhode Island Division:

Bylaws, 1975-1987

Legal advocacy fund, 1979-1989

Minutes and newsletters, 1982-1983

Minutes, 1986-1987

Miscellaneous, 1976-1977

            History, 1977

            Newsletter, 1976-1977

            Speech, 1976

Goals, mission, policies, 1982-1983

Miscellaneous, 1981-1992

            Bulletin, 1992

            Certificate of achievement, 1985

            Correspondence, 1988-1989

            Directory of members, 1981-1989

            Meeting notices, 1984-1989

            Newsletters, 1983-1988

            Notes, undated

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American Association of American Women.

Blecharczyk, Carolyn.

Blecharczyk, Mary.

Blecharczyk, Mike.

Blecharczyk, Ruth.

Blecharczyk, Susan.

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.

Fillo, Arthur.

Fillo, Jimmy.

Fillo, William.

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.

Wampanoag Association.

Women - Rhode Island.

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