About the Website
“Voices of the Manhattan Project” is a joint project by the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society to create a public archive of our oral history collections of Manhattan Project veterans and their families.
The Manhattan Project was a great human collaboration. Participants included recent immigrants who fled anti-Semitism in Europe, young men and women straight from high school or college, and numerous Hispanics, Native Americans, and African-Americans. Some 125,000 people worked in secret locations in communities developed by the government for the sole purpose of the project. Most surprisingly, very few knew that they were working on an atomic bomb.
Launched in October 2012, this website captures the stories of Manhattan Project veterans and their families. Thanks to grants from the Crystal Trust, Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Kerr Foundation, and the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society are digitizing and transcribing our oral history collections and adding the interviews to this website. We hope that in time others will add to these oral histories. Our goal is to provide a sense of both the commonality and diversity of the Manhattan Project experience for scholars, students and the public.
There are many ways to search this site. In addition to the search bar and the filters used to organize by location and subjects (which are intended to emphasize important themes), you can also click on "tags" to find out more about a specific topic on the oral history and location pages. For example, the location page for Metallurgical Laboratory includes a tag for Enrico Fermi. Click on the tag, and all the key pages on this website discussing Fermi will pop up.
If you would like to have access to the original recordings, or you would like permission to quote from an interview, please contact us.This website is a work in progress, so check back often to view new videos and read new transcripts!
Oral History Collections
Our oral history collections come from a variety of sources. Some entries were conducted with a specific purpose in mind, such as for an exhibit or to provide information for a book, and are not a complete history. As you view our collection, please keep this in mind as the formatting and questions asked sometimes reflect various purposes other than a straightforward interview.
Many of the interviews come from the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society's collections, but AHF is currently in the process of digitizing and transcribing four outstanding oral history collections taken in the 1960s-1990s: the Stephane Groueff Collection, the S. L. Sanger Collection, the Richard Rhodes Collection, and the Joseph Papalia Collection. S. L. Sanger has granted AHF exclusive rights to publish the interviews he collected for his book. AHF has worked in collaboration with the Boston University Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center to digitize and transcribe the Stephane Groueff Collection. Paul Groueff, Stephane Groueff's heir, has granted AHF the rights to publish the interviews on the "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website and use them for educational and interpretive purposes. Richard Rhodes and Joseph Papalia have donated their interview collections to AHF and granted AHF exclusive rights to publish the interviews.
Please remember that oral histories are recordings of an individual's memories. Two people who witnessed the same event may remember differently, and their memories may have changed over time.
We have transcribed the interviews from the original recordings and edited the transcripts and recordings for clarity. We have done our best to produce an accurate, minimally edited transcript and video or audio file of our interviews. Some interviews have been edited for content and some sections containing irrelevant information have been removed.
If you are a relative of any of the interviewees and have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
The Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) is a nonprofit in Washington, DC, dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Manhattan Project and Atomic Age and its legacy. AHF has been working to create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park as well as preserve and interpret historic sites and develop educational programming and materials for students, teachers, and the general public. For more information about the Atomic Heritage Foundation, please visit www.atomicheritage.org.
Atomic Heritage Foundation
910 17th St. NW, Suite 408
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 293-0045
The Los Alamos Historical Society was incorporated in July 1968 “to encourage in every way possible an appreciation of the history and heritage of Los Alamos and its surrounding area by collecting, recording and preserving its history.” The Los Alamos Historical Museum opened in late July 1968. Today, the Historical Society continues as a key cultural service provider to Los Alamos County, but with expanded functions that now include ownership and preservation of historic properties (the wartime home of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer House and the homestead-era Romero Cabin), publishing, and educational outreach. For more information about the Los Alamos Historical Society, please visit www.losalamoshistory.org.
Los Alamos Historical Society
1050 Bathtub Row
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Phone: (505) 662-6272