Edward Patrick Boland was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1911. The son of Irish immigrants he grew up in Springfield's "Hungry Hill" working-class neighborhood. He graduated from Central High School in Springfield and attended Bay State Institute and Boston College Law School. He was a member of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives from 1934-1940 and served in the United States Army during World War II rising from private to captain in the Pacific theater. From 1941-1952 he was the Register of Deeds for Hampden County in Massachusetts. He was first elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives in 1953 where he served until his retirement in 1989. He was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and on the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran.
Boland first met Tip O'Neill during his time in the Massachusetts State House and they remained close friends and colleagues throughout their time in Congress working on legislative matters. They were also roommates for 24 years while working during the week in Washington D.C. and both returning to their districts on the weekends. Boland was very close to the Kennedy family throughout his life, he served as John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign manager for Ohio in 1960 and nominated Ted Kennedy for his first try for the Senate at the 1962 Massachusetts Democratic Convention.
Colleagues would describe "Eddie" as most people called him as a determined but private person who shunned the spotlight, was deeply committed to public service, and worked in a highly bipartisan manner. In 1973, when he was 62, he married Mary Katherine Egan, President of the Springfield City Council and graduate of Boston College Law School. Mary worked as a lawyer for Egan, Flanagan & Egan in Springfield. They had four children together, Martha, Edward Jr., Kathleen, and Michael. Boland died on November 4, 2001 at the age of 90 and was buried in St. Michael's Cemetery in Springfield, Massachusetts.