Richard De Freitas Oral History Interview

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Richard De Freitas Oral History Interview


Oral History Interview with Richard F. DeFreitas, February 27, 2016

Biographical Note:
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1939; son of Josephine (Cotta) and Joaquim DeFreitas; Richard F. DeFreitas’s mother (1911-1994) was born Lowell her parents, Josephine (Almeida) and Francisco C. Cotta were from Terceira and were among the first communicants of Saint Anthony Catholic Church; his father (1908-1994) was born in Madeira and, at the age of eleven, immigrated to the U.S. with his parents (Ludevina and Francisco DeFreitas); the DeFreitas family settled in Manchester, New Hampshire; Joaquim and Josephine married in 1936, and settled in Lowell on the fringe of the “Back Central” neighborhood; they were communicants of Saint Anthony’s, and became active in the Holy Ghost Society; Josephine worked as a knitter in the New Knit Company’s factory in Lowell; Joaquim became a master mechanic at the Brox Construction Company in Dracut, Massachusetts; as a young boy, Richard F. DeFreitas attended the city’s public schools and learned to play the clarinet (his father played guitar and, with a number of Portuguese men, formed a band that played in local clubs); by age twelve he played in the Portuguese Colonial Band;  in the 1950s, the family moved to Chelmsford, Massachusetts, on a former poultry farm near the Chelmsford-Lowell line; by his teens at Chelmsford High School, DeFreitas was an accomplished clarinetist musician; graduated from Lowell Technological Institute with a degree in engineering; while playing in various bands in the area, Mr. DeFreitas worked in engineering for the Raytheon Corporation, followed by Ditran, Division of Clifton-Litton Industries, producers of analog-to-digital conversion electronic equipment for the computer industry; after working at two other electronic manufacturing firms in the area, he accepted an engineering job in California he worked for electronic computer-related manufacturing firm; Mr. DeFreitas returned to Chelmsford and worked for Hybrid Systems Corporation before founding his own company DeltaLab Research, Inc. While at Hybrid and DeltaLab, Mr. DeFreitas received several patents for analog-digital conversion and audio products used in sound and musical recordings.

Scope and Contents:
Interview conducted by local historian Mehmed Ali; in addition to personal family history, this interview includes information on Lowell’s Portuguese community in the 1940s and 1950s, activities at the Holy Ghost Society and Saint Anthony Catholic Church, as well as the activities of and persons associated with the Portuguese Colonial Band; there is also information on working at various factories in 1940s and 1950s Lowell and the move of the DeFreitas family to the suburbs of Chelmsford in the 1950s; much of the interview focuses on music and musicianship within the area’s Portuguese community, and the various clubs where Mr. DeFreitas and other musicians played; it concludes with some information on the area’s growing electronic and computer industries, including a company founded by Mr. DeFreitas in the late 1970s.



UMass Lowell, Center for Lowell History




DeFreitas, Richard


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Ali, Mehmed, “Richard De Freitas Oral History Interview,” Portuguese American Digital Archives, accessed December 6, 2021,

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