We are continuing to expand the history articles on our website and highlight stories of the Manhattan Project. Some of our recent articles focus on mail and media censorship during the Manhattan Project, French nuclear scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, the Nevada Test Site, and the Marshall Islands

We have also published a "Manhattan Project Spotlight" article on Manhattan Project administrator David Hawkins, his wife Frances, and their daughter Julie. Frances Quintana babysat Julie at Los Alamos and went on have a long career at Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

Quintana remembered, " We used to play, hike and have a lot of fun. She [Frances Hawkins] was the nicest lady and taught me how to sew. Mr. Hawkins got me a job at the Technical Area. After they left, I worked there for thirty-five years."

Voices500"Voices of the Manhattan Project" Reaches 500 Interviews
The "Voices of the Manhattan Project" oral history website, a joint project of the Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) and the Los Alamos Historical Society (LAHS), now features 500 video and audio interviews with Manhattan Project veterans, family members, and experts. As Cynthia C. Kelly, President of AHF, explains, "The website provides a kaleidoscope of first-hand accounts on the Manhattan Project. Readily accessible online, the collection is a treasure trove for journalists, scholars, documentary producers, museums, educators, students and audiences worldwide."

Launched in 2012 by AHF and LAHS, the "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website now reaches more than 10,000 people per month. LAHS Executive Director Heather McClenahan states, "What an exciting milestone. This is an amazing resource for researchers and students, as well as our own museum exhibits, which use oral histories as a backbone for understanding daily life and work during the Manhattan Project. These first-hand accounts are a fantastic way for people to connect to this history."
AHF's Cindy Kelly with Manhattan Project veteran James Forde
Both organizations are continuing to record interviews around the country. AHF and LAHS hope to publish an additional 500 interviews on the website by 2020, and to expand the scope of the site to include interviews with Cold War nuclear workers, Japanese atomic bomb survivors, and nuclear experts today.
In addition to interviews conducted by the two organizations, "Voices" features rare archival collections that AHF has received permission to publish. These unique recordings include interviews conducted between the 1960s and the late 2000s by journalists and historians Richard Rhodes, Stephane Groueff, Martin Sherwin, and S. L. Sanger; 509th Composite Group historian Joseph Papalia; and former LANL employees Willie Atencio and David Schiferl. Family members also often donate interviews to AHF for publication.

AHF's Alex Levy with 509th Composite Group veteran Jack Widowsky
The "Voices" website includes powerful eyewitness accounts of the Trinity Test and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Val Fitch , a member of the Special Engineer Detachment who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1980, was amazed by the size of the Trinity Test's explosion. 

"It's hard to overstate the impact on the senses of something like that. First the flash of light, that enormous fireball, the mushroom cloud rising thousands of feet in the sky, and then, a long time afterwards, the sound. The rumble, thunder in the mountains. Words haven't been invented to describe it in any accurate way."

Eulalia Quintana Newton with  LANL director Sig Hecker.  Photo courtesy of 
 Willie Atencio and David Schiferl.
nterviewees describe the impacts of the project on their communities, including the Hispano communities and Pueblos of northern New Mexico, the Native Americans displaced at Hanford, WA, and the African-American communities in Hanford and Oak Ridge, TN. 

Eulalia Quintana Newton, who became the first Hispanic woman without a college degree to become a group leader at the Los Alamos laboratory, explained how her job affected her family: "I'll never forget that I bought my mother her first electric refrigerator with the money that I made up there. Little by little, we modernized the house, we made things a lot more convenient."

Many interviewees discuss the legacy of nuclear weapons today. Clifton Truman 
Daniel, the grandson of President Harry Truman, discusses the threat of nuclear war in a 2018 interview with AHF: "You could just be standing in a beautiful botanical garden enjoying the day, and it would all disappear. That's the danger of those things. That's why, together, whether you think it was a good decision or a bad decision, the whole story has to be told."
AHF and LAHS are very grateful to its funders who have supported the oral history project since 2011, including Crystal Trust, the Department of Energy, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Kerr Foundation, the Los Alamos National Bank, M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
InMemoriamIn Memoriam: Floy Agnes Lee, Jack Widowsky, Milton Levenson, Rosemary Lane, Russell Jim, and Herb Lehr
Unfortunately, we lost many friends and partners in the past month. We are sad to report the passing of four Manhattan Project veterans in March: Dr. Floy Agnes Lee at age 95, Jack Widowsky at age 95, Dr. Milton Levenson at age 95, and Rosemary Lane at age 96. Yakama Nation Elder and Hanford Site cleanup advocate Russell Jim passed away at age 82. We have also recently learned of the passing of veteran Herb Lehr in January. They will be greatly missed.

Floy Agnes Lee
Floy, better known as "Aggie," was one of the few members of the Pueblos to work as a technician at Los Alamos. Her job was to take blood samples from lab workers and to test the impact of radiation exposure on their blood cells. She tested blood samples from scientists Louis Slotin and Alvin Graves after the criticality accident that exposed Slotin to a fatal dose of radiation. 

At Los Alamos, Lee often played tennis with Enrico Fermi. After the war, Fermi encouraged her to continue her education at the University of Chicago. She went on to get her PhD in biology, focusing on cancer research and chromosomes. She also worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California, before returning to Los Alamos, where she then worked as radiobiologist in the Lab's Mammalian Biology Group. For the full article on Floy, please click here.

Jack Widowsky
Jack Widowsky served as a navigator in the 509th Composite Group and flew on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb missions. He served as the navigator aboard The Big Stink, which was the backup strike plane on Iwo Jima during the Hiroshima mission. On the Nagasaki mission, Widowsky and his crew flew on the Laggin' Dragon, one of the weather reconnaissance planes. 

He recalled, "We went to Nagasaki, we radioed our weather report, went back to Tinian." Widowsky concluded in the interview, "Everyone can't fly in the number one plane. The other planes had jobs to do, and you had to do it right. Otherwise the whole mission would have been cancelled, or not run the way it should have been." For the full article on Jack, please click here.

Milt Levenson
Milton Levenson was a chemical engineer who worked in the nuclear energy field for over 60 years. He briefly worked at the Houdaille-Hershey Plant in Decatur, Illinois, before being drafted as a Combat Engineer in the U.S. Army. After he completed his training, he was reassigned to Oak Ridge and supervised the construction of a small chemical plant at the X-10 Laboratory. 

He later worked for Argonne National Laboratory and as a nuclear safety consultant for the Electric Power Research Institute and the Bechtel Power Corporation. He worked as a consultant on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. From 1983 to 1984, he served as the President of the American Nuclear Society. This position allowed him to continue his interest in promoting and ensuring nuclear safety. For the full article on Milt, please click here.

Rosemary Lane
Rosemary Lane  was the Head Nurse of the Emergency Room at the Oak Ridge Hospital during World War II. She  helped to set up the clinics at Oak Ridge, establish protocol, and treat patients. 

During her time at Oak Ridge, Rosemary treated General Leslie R. Groves for physical therapy. She recalled, "It was just applying a heat lamp because he had a bad shoulder. He had been traveling a lot. He was a very pleasant man--just big and kind of gruff looking. So I did get to meet the General." 

Rosemary is featured in Denise Kiernan's bestselling book,  The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II She also attended AHF's events marking the 70th anniversary of the Manhattan Project in Washington, DC, in June 2015.  For the full article on Rosemary, please click here.

Russell Jim
Yakama Nation Elder Russell Jim dedicated his life to giving Native American tribes a forceful voice in nuclear waste cleanup decisions at the Hanford site.  Jim was a passionate advocate for achieving rigorous environmental standards and protecting the Columbia River. He spent 37 years managing his tribe's Environmental Restoration and Waste Management program.

In AHF's 2003 interview, Russell Jim described the relationship of the tribes to the Hanford site before World War II. "We lived in harmony with the area, with the river, with all of the environment. All the natural foods and medicines were quite abundant here."  For the full article on Russell, please click here.

Herb Lehr with the Gadget's plutonium core 
Herb Lehr served as a member of the Special Engineer Detachment at Los Alamos. He worked in the Experimental Physics Division, and contributed to the core design for the uranium bomb. 

Herb was also present at the Trinity Test, and helped assemble and transport the plutonium core of the test bomb, which was captured in a famous photograph (right).

After the war, he returned to Los Alamos to help Marshall Holloway prepare for Operation Crossroads. He later worked as an administrative officer at Brookhaven National Laboratory and as an engineering supervisor for Boeing. For the full article on Herb, please click here.
Manhattan Project Sites News
The X-10 Graphite Reactor

With summer approaching, the Department of Energy is beginning to open registration for public tours in Oak Ridge, TN and Hanford, WA. In Oak Ridge, bus tours run from March through November. 

The tour itinerary includes stops at the Y-12 New Hope Visitor Center, Bethel Valley Church, and the Graphite Reactor at ORNL. The tour also drives by the Spallation Neutron Source and the East Tennessee Technology Park: Heritage Center.

At Hanford, registration opened on April 10 for the Hanford Site cleanup tours and all  spots were quickly claimed. 

Kattie Strickland
On March 22, the Department of Energy held a "HerStory" Women's History Month celebration at the New Hope Visitor Center at Y-12 National Security Complex. The event honored Manhattan Project veteran Kattie Strickland, who worked as a janitor at Oak Ridge during the war. Because African-American men and women were not permitted to live together, Kattie and her husband were forced to live in separate hutments. They saved as much money as they could to send back their parents and children in Alabama.

Valeria Steele Roberson
Kattie's daughter, Dorothye Steele-Patterson, and granddaughter, Valeria Steele-Roberson, attended the event dressed in purple, Kattie's favorite color. Valeria presented DOE with Kattie's famous biscuit pan, which construction workers had fashioned for her out of scrap metal. The pan and a special exhibition, "HerStory: A Photography Exhibition of Women in the Secret City," will be on display at the New Hope Center during April. For more information, please see  African-American Manhattan Project veteran Kattie Strickland honored at women's history month celebration.

On March 13, Thomas Romero, executive director of the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area, presented "Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area: Sustaining Culture and Traditions" at Fuller Lodge. He discussed the Heritage Area's efforts to preserve northern New Mexico's cultural heritage. On April 10, the Los Alamos Historical Society (LAHS)  hosted a lecture by popular Abiquiu-based author Lesley Poling-Kempes on her book "Ladies of the Canyons: A League of Extraordinary Women and their Adventures in the American Southwest." LAHS will also host training sessions in April for people interested in becoming volunteers or docents at the Los Alamos History Museum.

T he Dayton Project's Unit 3 Building prior to occupancy
The Mound Cold War Discovery Center Museum will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 23. During the Manhattan Project, Dayton Project scientists worked on polonium research for the initiator of the atomic bombs. After the war, Mound Laboratories continued nuclear weapons research. According to a Dayton Daily News article, the Museum will "will include information, photographs and various other forms of media documenting the Mound Laboratory research and breakthroughs that helped changed the course of the last century and continue to impact this one."

On April 7, the Trinity Site was open for its biannual open house. The next open house will be in October. Visitors can tour the site and see the McDonald Ranch House, the remains of Jumbo, and the Trinity Site monument.  KOAT News  reports on the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium's protest at the site. According to  its website , the Consortium aims "to bring attention to the health issues resulting from overexposure to radiation" caused by the Trinity Test.
RoundupHistory Article Roundup
Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting content published on the Manhattan Project and science history in the past month.

-On the cusp of 112, a whirlwind tour for World War II's oldest veteran: The Washington Post reports on Richard Overton, the grandson of a slave and the country's oldest World War II veteran. 

James B. Conant
- Harvard and the Atomic Bomb : The Harvard Crimson describes James B. Conant's involvement in the Manhattan Project; Tocsin, a nuclear disarmament group that was active at Harvard in the 1960s; and how students feel about nuclear issues today.

-J. Ernest Wilkins Jr.: 'Superb Mathematician' Broke Barriers at Dawn of Atomic Age: The Atlanta Black Star profiles African-American mathematician and physicist J. Ernest Wilkins, who was accepted to study math at the University of Chicago in 1937 when he was 13 years old. He went on to work on the Manhattan Project at Chicago and later served as the president of the American Nuclear Society.

Louis Slotin
- LANL Archives Preserve History: Deputy Group Leader for the Records Management Group Christopher C'de Baca and LANL Historian Alan Carr share with the Los Alamos Daily Post some of the documents associated with the Soviet spies at Los Alamos. 
-Stephen Hawking Dies at 76; His Mind Roamed the Cosmos
On March 14, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away. This New York Times obituary explores his extraordinary life and scientific discoveries.
-The Atomic-Bomb Core That Escaped World War II: The Atlantic explores the history of the "demon core," which caused the deaths of Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin in separate criticality accidents. 

-The birth of the atomic age in BerkeleyThe University of California's "One Bold Idea" podcast has a new episode on Ernest O. Lawrence and the development of the cyclotron.
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently published on the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website
Clifton Truman Daniel is the grandson of President Harry Truman. In this interview, Daniel discusses what it is like to be the grandson of the distinguished president. He recalls his relationship with his grandparents and his mother, Margaret Truman Daniel, and how he learned that "Grandpa" had been president. In addition to discussing the work that he does on behalf of the Truman Presidential Library, Daniel also speaks about the more recent trips he has made to Japan and meeting with survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He describes his friendships with survivor Setsuko Thurlow and with the family of Sadako Sasaki.

D. M. Ellett is a mechanical engineer who joined the Manhattan Project after the end of World War II. He was a member of Z Division, which was assigned to Sandia Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1945. In the interview, Ellett recalls his arrival in Albuquerque and shares stories from his long career at Sandia (today, Sandia National Laboratories). He describes his years as a docent at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and recalls witnessing a nuclear test in Nevada.

Philippe Halban is a European cell biologist. His father, Hans Halban, was an Austrian-Jewish physicist who conducted nuclear research with Frédéric Joliot-Curie in France before World War II and later for the Manhattan Project in Britain and Canada. In this interview, Philippe provides an account of his father's life, including Halban's family, education, and love of science. He discusses his father's relationships with fellow scientists, including Francis Perrin, Lew Kowarski, and Joliot-Curie. He also describes how his father and Kowarski fled France for England in June 1940 with France's supply of heavy water to keep it out of the hands of the Nazis.

Dr. James Hershberg is a leading scholar on Cold War history. In this interview, Hershberg explains in great detail the complex history of the Manhattan Project. He explores the scientific and political climate leading up to the Project, the implications of the atomic bomb, and the feelings of various Manhattan Project scientists. He also explains the debate over developing the hydrogen bomb, different historical perspectives for explaining the Manhattan Project, James B. Conant's recollections of witnessing the Trinity Test, and U.S./Soviet Union relations throughout the Cold War. Hershberg ends the interview by discussing how various nations have become nuclear powers, and how the Cold War and nuclear history are relevant today.

Mary Whittlesey Kennedy moved to Oak Ridge as a teenager in 1943 when her mother took a job there. In this interview, Mary discusses her years at Oak Ridge including her high school, school dances, and her involvement in clubs such as "the Penguin Club." She fondly recalls her time in Oak Ridge. She also remembers her mixed reaction to the news of the atomic bomb and how her opinion has changed over the years.

Peter Malmgren, an oral historian and cabinet maker, is the author of Los Alamos Revisited: A Workers' History, which uses oral histories to tell the story of Los Alamos National Laboratory from the perspectives of the people who helped build and maintain it. Malmgren has been a resident of Chimayo, New Mexico since 1971. In this interview, he discusses some of the oral histories from his book and what he has learned about Los Alamos in the process. Malmgren describes interviewees' perspectives on discrimination, health and safety, and working conditions. He also describes how the interviews have informed his own views of the Los Alamos laboratory.

Mary Brennan lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She and her husband, Curtiss, moved next door to Dorothy McKibbin, "the Gatekeeper to Los Alamos." In this interview, Mary discusses her memories of Dorothy, how Dorothy ended up in New Mexico, and Dorothy's relationship to J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project. In addition, she explains the specificities of the house and how it was a social destination for members of the project. The Brennans are the current owners of McKibbin's house and still reside next door.

We are working hard to record the voices of the veterans who are still able to share their stories. Our goal is to reach 1,000 entries on "Voices of the Manhattan Project" by 2020, a combination of interviews with veterans, family members and experts.

This is a very ambitious goal, especially since veterans are now in their 90s or older. Please consider a  donation  to help us reach out to those  Manhattan Project participants who are still with us. If you know good candidates for interviews, please let us know.

Thanks very much for your help in creating a valuable legacy for interpreting the Manhattan Project history! 

Atomic Heritage Foundation 
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