Archive for March, 2009


Harold Crowley was eight years old when World War 2 ended. On August 14th, 1945, three months after the surrender of Nazi Germany and just days after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese government bowed to defeat. Across America, and here in Quincy Massachusetts, people took to the streets—and celebrated.

“We had a parade, and everybody had something to make noise. I had a cow bell. So we paraded around the street with the cowbell.”

Given the fall of Hitler’s third Reich a few months earlier, and the utter destruction of Japan’s two major cities, Victory over Japan day–known as VJ Day–was not a complete surprise. But for Harold and every other American whose life had been affected by the war, the announcement was electrifying. It also meant the end of an era that reached back to the great Depression; and the beginning of a post war economy and US rise to political power that would usher in dramatic changes in everything from industry to fashion. At the time though, what would be seen through the lens of history as a seismic cultural shift, revealed itself in practical and even mundane ways. And in economic dislocation. America had placed its complete economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort. When the war ended, it marked the end of the boom in shipbuilding that had kept Harold’s father working 7 days a week.

“We’d won the war. It was over and of course everything was going to change after that and we knew it. Well we didn’t really know but everything did change after the war. Styles changed. Everything changed. My father was laid off. Shipbuilding went down the tubes..right after the war it took a while to transition to something else…..”

Listen to Harold’s story


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Harold DiMattio (left) and his brother Stephen

Harold DiMattio and his brother Stephen

Harold Angelo DiMattio was one of the first veterans we interviewed for this website.  It is with sadness we post this announcement of Mr. DiMattio’s death.  He will be missed by all who knew him here at the Library where he served as a Library Trustee and always had a kind word and a smile for staff and patrons.

From The Patriot Ledger newspaper:

A copy of the March 17th Obituary for Harold A DiMattio who died at the age of 84 on March 13th, 2009

A copy of the March 16th Patriot Ledger obituary for Harold A DiMattio who died at the age of 84 on March 13th, 2009

Transcription of The Patriot Ledger March 16th obituary:

Harold Angelo DiMattio, age 84, of Quincy died Friday, March 13, 2009 at the Quincy Medical Center.

Mr. DiMattio was born in Braintree, raised and educated in Quincy schools, and graduated from Quincy High School, Class of 1943. He graduated from Northeastern University in 1958 and later graduated from the University of Virginia in 1977 receiving an Associates Degree in Industrial Engineering.

He lived in Granbury, Texas for fifteen years, earlier five years in St. Francisville, Louisiana, but for most of his life he lived in Quincy. Harold was employed for thirty years with the Stone and Webster Engineering Company as a planning engineer. He worked with the Nuclear Division which included nuclear start up and construction. He was involved with the River Band Site in Louisiana as well as with Commanche Peak in Glenrose, Texas.

Mr. DiMattio was instrumental in preliminary construction and start up of the North Anna Plant in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Previously he worked at the former Fore River Shipyard in Quincy for both the Bethlehem Steel Company and for General Dynamics.

Mr. DiMattio served in the United States Navy during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters on the destroyer U.S.S. Barber. He was very active in veterans affairs and was a member and Past Commander of the George F. Bryant VFW Post in Quincy, Past Commander and Chaplain of the Morrisette American Legion Post in Quincy, and the Disabled American Veterans.

He was also a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus in Texas as well as the Quincy Sons of Italy Lodge 1295. Mr. DiMattio was also active in world conservation.

Beloved husband of the late Anna L. (Antonelli) DiMattio. Devoted father of Stephen J. DiMattio and his wife Marjie of Washington, D.C. Loving grandfather of Rachel Burneston of Ridgeley, MD and Adrienne Shaw of Philadelphia, PA Great-grandfather of Elise Nicole Burneston.

Brother of MaryAnn Veno of Quincy, the late Michael DiMattio and the late Stephen E. DiMattio, Q.P.D., Ret. Stepson of Eleanor DiMattio of Braintree, Stepbrother of Phyllis Clark of Braintree and Vincent DiMattio of N.J.

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“Library 2.0”

Southeastern Massachusetts Library System newsletter

Southeastern Massachusetts Library System newsletter

This website is part of our effort to use “social software” like blogs (this website is a blog), podcasts (our audio interviews are podcasts), and Flickr (where we have posted our collection of images of war posters and historical photographs from the 1940s)  to move information outside the physical walls of the library and to invite people to enrich our collection by contributing content of their own.

So-called “Library 2.0” is gaining more and more attention within the library profession as a way to connect digitally with our customers, and with people anywhere in the world who have access to the Internet. Quincy’s local newspaper The Patriot Ledger noted this trend in an article it published back in November of 2008, and the Quincy reference staff wrote an article about this website for our December 2008 regional library newsletter recommending other libraries try similar projects.

We would love to hear from you about your experience using this website. Please let us know what worked for you and what did not.  Please share your suggestions and ideas.  Check out our Library profile on Facebook, and if you have your own Facebook account, please consider becoming a fan!

Thank you!

Patriot Ledger article on interactive website

Patriot Ledger article on interactive website

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