The photographs, stories, and videos gathered at the Wilmington Mass. Memories Road Show are available online now for research.
Chika Amakor and Julia Barry were among the two dozen students from Wilmington High School who volunteered at the event on September 30, 2017.
Hosted by Wilmington High School on Saturday, September 30, 2017, the event was organized by the Wilmington Memorial Library in collaboration with numerous community organizations including the Town of Wilmington Elderly Services and Veterans Affairs departments, Wilmington Public Schools, Wilmington Historical Commission, Wilmington Community Television, Wilmington Community Fund, Sons of Italy, Rotary Club of Wilmington, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Fourth of July Committee, Friendship Lodge, We’re One Wilmington, Abundant Life Church, Wilmington United Methodist Church, St. Dorothy and St. Thomas Villanova Catholic Churches, Wilmington Little League, Wilmington Youth Soccer, Girl Scouts of America, Cub Scout Pack 361, Angels in Motion (A.I.M.), and The Wilmington Town Crier. Over thirty local volunteers–mostly students from the high school–joined a team of UMass Boston staff members, public history graduate students, and “Roadies” to welcome more than 150 adults and children with connections to the suburban town north of Boston.
“Twinning D’s, 1978. My sister Donna and I are twins. My husband Michael and his brother are also twins. We had our wedding in Wilmington during the Blizzard of ’78. Pictured, from left to right: Donna Paulsen Heffron, Dianna Paulsen DiGregorio, Michael DiGregorio, and Lou DiGregorio.” Contributor: Dianna Paulsen DiGregorio.
Participants contributed images of everyday life in the community over the years. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and other family gatherings are well documented in the collection. Photographs of family farms, in operation in the decades before the construction of Rt. 128 and Rt. 93, and other local businesses are also included.
“‘Julie’ carnations, named after grower Sigfrid Olson’s granddaughter, 1978. ‘This photo is particularly important because my father developed this new variety of carnation and named it after my husband and my daughter, Julie, the first of our four children. Julie eventually . . . built a house on the property where the greenhouses once stood. So, although my parents are both deceased, there still are ‘Olsons’ on the property. Location: Lowell Street.” Contributor: Marilyn Penny.
Many contributors chose to document time spent in school and extra-curricular activities, sharing photographs of their first day of school as well as participation in sports competitions, marching bands, and homecoming celebrations.
“Wilmington Skating Club speed skating team, 1950s. The team represented the town in competitive races throughout New England. Jeanne Ashworth–who in 1960 became the first woman from the United States to win an Olympic medal in speed skating–was a member. Pictured, from left to right: unidentified, ‘Pudge’ Cushing, Charlie Cushing, Jeanne Ashworth, and Pat Cushing.” Contributor: Jack Cushing.
Several photographs document the connections forged among individual citizens through the organized activities of civic groups such as the Rotary Club and the Sons of Italy as well as 4th of July parades and other community gatherings, including several held at the public library. Many images depict Wilmington residents’ proud efforts in local politics–campaigning for office, lobbying for causes, and raising funds for new public buildings.
‘Rotary Club sponsor of Old Home Days Parade, 1948. When the dental equipment was donated to the high school by the Rotary Club. Pictured: Rotary members.’ Contributor: Bernie Wagstaff.
Browse the Wilmington Mass. Memories Road Show collection.
The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide digital history project that documents people, places and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. In partnership with teams of local volunteers, we organize public events to scan family and community photographs and videotape “the stories behind the photos.” The images and videos are indexed and incorporated into an online educational database. Since its launch, the project has gathered more than 9,000 photographs and stories from across the state. It is supported in part by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund at UMass Boston.
University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself. The mission and history of UMass Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives & Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. To learn more, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.