Welch Papers, Maxwell and Elizabeth. Papers, 1940-1998

Collection Information

Maxwell and Elizabeth Welch papers


Welch, Maxwell M. (Maxwell Millard), 1913-2002.
Welch, Elizabeth D. (Elizabeth Dorr), 1913-2006.




10 boxes, 2.5 linear feet

Collection ID #:

RG 4931

Conditions Governing Access:


Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Maxwell and Elizabeth Welch papers, RG 4931. The Congregational Library and Archive, Boston, MA.



Processing information:

Processed by Emily Glinert, December 2009

Historical Note

Reverend Maxwell Millard Welch was born on January 11, 1913 to Maude and Roscoe Welch in Strong, Maine. Roscoe Welch died in 1913, after Maxwell's birth. Maude Welch later changed her name to Maude Hillier when she married Merton Hillier. Maude and Merton had three daughters together named Gertrude, Ruby and Olive Hillier.

Elizabeth Dorr was born on September 9, 1913 in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. While a minister attending Bowdoin College, Maxwell met Elizabeth, who was a teacher in the Augusta, Maine schools. The two were married and eventually moved to Pelham, Massachusetts. On March 3, 1944, their son, Kenneth Albert Welch, was born. Their second child, Thomas Dorr Welch, was born on September 18, 1945. While in Pelham, Maxwell and Elizabeth decided to become missionaries in Africa.

In August 1947, the Welch family sailed from New York to Lisbon, Portugal to learn Portuguese in preparation for their missionary work in Portuguese Angola, West Africa. In October 1948, the Welch family arrived at the Chissamba Mission in Nova Sintra, Angola. Maxell and Elizabeth’s third child, Susan M. Welch, was born on May 30, 1949. The Welch family arrived at the Bunjei Mission, Angola in August 1949, the place of their work until 1952. Patricia E. Welch, their fourth child, was born on November 14, 1951. The family returned to the United States from 1952-1953 on furlough.

In 1953, the Welch family returned to Angola and began work in a mission in Bailundo. They remained in Bailundo until 1956 when they went to work in Dondi, Angola. In 1957, the Welch family returned to the United States. They continued to be involved with the missions in Angola through correspondence and by giving speeches about their experiences. Maxwell passed away in 2002 and Elizabeth passed away in 2006.


Scope and Content

Series 1: Correspondence, 1940-2000. -- Boxes 1-3
    These folders contain written correspondence to and from Maxwell and Elizabeth Welch. The folders are arranged chronologically by year. Box 1 contains correspondence from 1940-1951, Box 2 contains correspondence from 1952-1958(1) and Box 3 contains correspondence from 1958(2)-2000. 1947, 1948 and 1958 have two folders per year due to the large volume of correspondence. Undated materials are in a folder in Box 1. Maxwell is often addressed as “Max” or “Mack”, Elizabeth as “Betty”, Kenneth as “Kenny”, Thomas as “Tom”, Susan as “Sue” and Patricia as “Patty”. Maude Hillier is often addressed as “Mother” by both Maxwell and Elizabeth.
Series 2: Maxwell Welch Sermons, 1950-1983. -- Boxes 4, 6
    The folders are arranged chronologically by year. Included are preparatory notes and sermons given by Maxwell Welch and a notebook containing thoughts on Angola. There are also two date books from 1956 and 1957 that describe Maxwell’s schedule. The date books can be found in Box 6.
Series 3: Biographical Information. -- Box 4
    Documents include health check information and vaccination records from 1947-1958, Portuguese identity cards for Maxwell and Elizabeth and their diplomas from Portuguese language school. The diplomas are contained in an envelope independent of a box due to their size. Also includes typed itineraries and published articles about the Welch family.
Series 4: Christian Ministry Documents, 1946-1964. -- Box 5
    These folders contain documents related to the missionary work done by Maxwell and Elizabeth while in the United States and in Angola. Included are population numbers, financial statements and descriptions of the missions. There are also documents written by colleagues who served in Angola with Maxwell and Elizabeth.
Series 5: Audiovisual Materials
    Series contains audiovisual material of the missions in Angola and of the Welch family.
  Subseries A: Published visual materials. -- Box 5
    These folders include published maps of Africa, and published photographs of the missions in Angola.
  Subseries B: Unpublished audiovisual materials. -- Boxes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
    These folders contain personal photographs taken by the Welch family, hand drawn artwork and color slides. There are also audio files of the Welch family, other missionaries and Angolan singers recorded by Maxwell. Two scrapbooks of the missions in Angola are included as well. Contact the archivist for further information about images or audio.


Several books were originally part of the collection They can now be found through the Congregational Library catalog and are recorded below.

Adamastor. White Man Boss: Footsteps to the South African Volk Republic. Boston: The Beacon Press, 1951.

Ross, Emory. African Heritage. New York: Friendship Press, Inc., 1952.

Tucker, John T. Drums in the Darkness. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1927.


Box List

Box 1 Correspondence (9 folders) 1940-1951, undated
Box 2 Correspondence (8 folders) 1952-1958
Box 3 Correspondence (6 folders) 1958-2000
Box 4 M. Welch Sermons (3 folders) 1950-2000
  Notebook of Reflections 1985
  Health Survey 1944, 1945, 1958
  Identification Documents 1949-1957
  Travelogues 1947-1952
  Published Articles 1947, 1948
  Portuguese Language Diplomas 1948
Box 5 Data about Missions in Angola 1930, 1952-1955
  Financial Statements from Missions 1950-1958
  Writing by or about Colleagues in Angola 1950, 1956, 1963, 1976
  Bulletins from Churches Visited 1952, 1958, undated
  Missionary Conference Notes 1952, 1964
  Maps of Africa (5) 1935, 1952. 1956
  Published Photographs of Missions undated
  Photographs by Welch Family 1948-1957
Box 6 Hand drawn Artwork undated
  Scrapbooks (2) 1947-1957, 1975
  Date books (2) 1956, 1957
Boxes 7-10 Color slides taken by Maxwell Welch 1940-1956
  Audio CDs  
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