Betting Big on Boland!

Boland seated behind a desk

Box 132, folder 2, Edward P. Boland congressional papers, CA.1998.003

Reserved, hard-working, and bipartisan are all words used to describe Massachusetts Congressperson Edward P. Boland. Known to most as Eddie, he served in the United States House of Representatives for the 2nd District of Massachusetts from 1953-1989, and never lost an election in his 50 years of political service. A Democrat, a moderate, and a Catholic, Eddie felt called to public service and genuinely cared about helping people. In 1954, when Puerto Rican nationalists started shooting in the House Chamber, Boland, a freshman Congressman, immediately went to a colleague’s aid and improvised a tourniquet for a bullet wound with his tie and a fountain pen. Boland and a fellow Congressperson carried Alabama Representative Kenneth Roberts to safety in the corridor; Boland later recounted that he initially thought the gunshots were firecrackers. However, you would be hard pressed to find mention of him in the major newspaper accounts of the attack. If not for a fragile newspaper clipping from the Boston Post and a commendation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, his heroism would be unknown. This was typical behavior from Boland who was willing to do the hard work but wanted none of the credit. After 20 years of serving in Congress and shunning the spotlight, Eddie could no longer avoid its glare when he was appointed chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 1977.

This online exhibit serves to highlight Eddie’s tremendous contributions and incredible commitment to service during his 36 years in Congress.