School Hosts Veteran Women’s Rights Campaigner

This story originally appeared in the Ipswich Local News on September 27, 2019

WENHAM — A local school has hosted an activist who first campaigned for women’s rights around 50 years ago.

Delpfine Welch of Boston Female Liberation visited The Academy at Penguin Hall — and her niece and student Elise Welch — for two days.

A Manchester resident, Elise (class of 2020) said she knew her aunt cared about women’s rights, but didn’t realize how dedicated she was to the cause.

“I was never aware my aunt was such a big role … I knew my aunt cared about women’s rights, but never knew she had the guts and had those challenges, and facing them and being proactive about it,” she said.

Ipswich student Autumn Armano (class of 2020) said, “The ideas and information she shared were enlightening due to the fact that prior to this presentation I didn’t have a firm grasp on what life as a woman was earlier in history and the fight that they had to face.” 

During her visit, Delpfine discussed her work as an activist, critiqued student art projects, and engaged in question-and-answer sessions. 

A native of Salem, she told students at the all-girls school that she understood the benefits of a female-only education.

She said that she chose Emmanuel College for the opportunity “to grow as a woman without any pressure from boys and men.”

During her visit to the APH campus, Welch spoke to students in Brigid Beckman’s, Byron Williams’s, and Chloe Wilwerding’s classes.

Wilwerding’s activist art class, in which Elise Welch is a student, is completing their political printmaking project.

Students created prints that highlight the political and social causes they care about.

Following the presentation, Delpfine Welch “channeled her experience creating pamphlets for Female Liberation, including The Second Wave publication, and provided students with feedback on their printmaking projects,” trip organizers said.

In Dr. Williams’ activist literature class, students engaged in a question-and-answer session, discussing the opposition Welch faced, including resistance from her own mother.

In Beckman’s “heroes, rebels, and saints” class, Welch shared thoughts on what makes us a hero versus a saint, and reflected more on her mother’s influence.

“She was not just my mother. She was someone with ideas and aspirations,” she told students. Her mother eventually went back to school, and both she and Welch graduated in the same year.

Elise Welch said the visit gave her “newfound admiration for [my] aunt’s work.”

“She did everything she was supposed to do, but I didn’t know she worked so hard to help us now in being the women we are and having the rights we have,” Elise said.