O'Connell, William (Henry)(1859–1944) Catholic prelate; born in Lowell, Mass. Ordained in 1884, he was rector of the North American College in Rome (from 1895), bishop of Portland, Maine (1901–05), and a Vatican diplomat before becoming archbishop of Boston (1907); he was made a cardinal in 1911. Known for his extensive building program, he was a prominent presence and force in Greater Boston religious life throughout his long term as archbishop.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.