Matteson is the son of Thomas D. Matteson (1920–2011), an airline executive jointly responsible for developing the theory of reliability-centered maintenance, and Rosemary H. Matteson (1920–2010), who worked as a commercial artist before becoming a homemaker.
Matteson is a former treasurer of the Melville Society and is a member of the Louisa May Alcott Society's advisory board. Matteson is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and has served as the deputy director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography. He married Michelle Rollo in 1991. They have a daughter.