The Manhattan Project Interviews,
1987-1990

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 9531
Dates:
1987-1990
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
files (Reference copies).
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
The Smithsonian Videohistory Program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation from 1986 until 1992, used video in historical research. Additional collections have been added since the grant project ended. Videohistory uses the video camera as a historical research tool to record moving visual information. Video works best in historical research when recording people at work in environments, explaining artifacts, demonstrating process, or in group discussion. The experimental program recorded projects that reflected the Institution's concern with the conduct of contemporary science and technology.
Smithsonian historians participated in the program to document visual aspects of their on-going historical research. Projects covered topics in the physical and biological sciences as well as in technological design and manufacture. To capture site, process, and interaction most effectively, projects were taped in offices, factories, quarries, laboratories, observatories, and museums. Resulting footage was duplicated, transcribed, and deposited in the Smithsonian Institution Archives for scholarship, education, and exhibition. The collection is open to qualified researchers.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
Stanley Goldberg, consulting historian for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH), recorded eighteen video sessions with fifty-five participants involved in the engineering, physics, and culmination of the Manhattan Project. Goldberg examined the research and technologies necessary to realize the uranium and plutonium bombs. He supplemented interviews with visual documentation of the industrial plants that refined and separated the isotopes, and of the machinery that delivered and dropped the bombs. Interviewees explained the other steps of designing, building, testing and detonating an atomic bomb. Discussions with participants also elicited a social history of the Project as recalled by various men and women responsible for different duties in different locales. Between January 1987 and June 1990 the sessions were recorded on-site or in-studio in Hanford, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; Oak Ridge and Louisville, Tennessee; Alamogordo and Los Alamos, New Mexico; Washington, D.C.; and Suitland, Maryland. The sessions are divided into five collection divisions: Hanford, Oak Ridge, Cambridge, Los Alamos, and Alberta.
This collection consists of eighteen interview sessions, separated into five collection divisions, totaling approximately 47:00 hours of recordings, and 1188 pages of transcript. There are three generations of tape for each session: originals, dubbing masters, and reference copies. In total, this collection is comprised of 85 original videotapes (10 U-Matic videotapes, 24 1-inch reels, and 51 Beta videotapes), 54 dubbing master videotapes (54 U-Matic videotapes), and 29 reference copy videotapes (29 VHS videotapes). The collection has been remastered digitally, with motion jpeg 2000 and mpeg digital files for preservation, and Windows Media Video and Real Media Video digital files for reference.
Please note that sessions 14 and 15 in Collection Division Four are comprised of dual sets of tape from two cameras positioned at different angles.

Historical Note
Historical Note
The United States government began underwriting investigations of the feasibility of atomic weapons in October 1941. Within a year, promising research at several universities, particularly at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the University of Chicago, showed that it was possible to produce atomic bombs based on the chain-reacting fission of uranium 235 isotope or of plutonium. This led to the reorganization of the Manhattan District, or "Project," of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make these bombs a reality. Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves directed and coordinated the Project from 1942 to 1945, spending 2.3 billion dollars on nuclear reactors and chemical separation plants at Hanford, Washington, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and on the weapon research and design laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The first plutonium bomb was successfully detonated at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. The B-29 bomber Enola Gay exploded the first uranium bomb, "Little Boy," over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945; the B-29 Bock's Car exploded the second plutonium bomb, "Fat Man," over Nagasaki, Japan, two days later.

Notes
Oral Histories

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9531, , The Manhattan Project Interviews

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Albaugh, Frederic W. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hornig, Donald. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morrison, Philip. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Serber, Robert. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
French, Anthony. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frisch, David. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hornig, Lillian. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frisch, Rose. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Alice Kimball. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilson, Jane S. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Feld, Bernard T. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Cyril. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reines, Frederick. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bethe, Hans. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mark, J. Carson. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christy, Robert. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Foster, Richard F. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greager, Oswald H. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matthias, Franklin T. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Denton, Lawrence. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bacher, Robert. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bradbury, Norris R. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hawkins, David. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ramsey, Norman F., Jr. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Agnew, Harold M. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bainbridge, Kenneth T. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilson, Robert Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sweeney, Charles W. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wahlen, Ralph K. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wright, Wakefield A. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chapman, Vivian Russell. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McCue, William P. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Perkins, Leonard F., Sr. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Creutz, Edward C. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weinberg, Alvin M. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wigner, Eugene P. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black, Colleen. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bolling, Connie. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Larson, Jane W. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Livingston, Audrey B. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Banic, George M., Jr. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Larson, Clarence E. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Livingston, Robert S. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Googin, John M. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Keim, Chris P. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vanstrum, Paul R. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parsons, James A. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Huber, Paul. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ashworth, Frederick L. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cease, Wilson A. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Babcock, Dale F. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Borst, Lyle F. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Enola Gay (Bomber) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clinton Engineering Works (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tinian Island Airbase Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Project Alberta Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (N.M.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Trinity Test Site (N.M.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fat Man (Bomb) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Little Boy (Bomb) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hanford Engineering Works (Wash.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manhattan Project (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Atomic bomb Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Military history Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Physics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
History of science and technology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Albaugh, Frederic W. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bainbridge, Kenneth T. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hornig, Donald. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morrison, Philip. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilson, Robert interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Serber, Robert. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
French, Anthony. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frisch, David. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hornig, Lillian. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frisch, Rose. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Alice Kimball. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilson, Jane S. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Feld, Bernard T. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Cyril. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reines, Frederick. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bethe, Hans. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mark, J. Carson. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christy, Robert. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Foster, Richard F. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greager, Oswald H. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matthias, Franklin T. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Denton, Lawrence. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bacher, Robert. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bradbury, Norris R. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hawkins, David. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ramsey, Norman F., Jr. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Agnew, Harold M. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ashworth, Frederick L. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sweeney, Charles W. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cease, Wilson A. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wahlen, Ralph K. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wright, Wakefield A. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chapman, Vivian Russell. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McCue, William P. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Perkins, Leonard F., Sr. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Babcock, Dale F. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Creutz, Edward C. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weinberg, Alvin M. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wigner, Eugene P. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Borst, Lyle F. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black, Colleen. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bolling, Connie. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Larson, Jane W. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Livingston, Audrey B. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Banic, George M., Jr. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Larson, Clarence E. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Livingston, Robert S. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Googin, John M. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Keim, Chris P. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vanstrum, Paul R. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parsons, James A. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Huber, Paul. interviewee. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goldberg, Stanley interviewer. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Videotapes Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oral history Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu