The Manhattan Project

Civilian Life

Sheila Rowan and Jo-Ellen Iacovino's Interview

Interviewer 1: Why did your family come to Oak Ridge? When did that happen?

Rowan: Well, we actually came to Oak Ridge in 1945. We left Nashville in early 1945. Because there was no housing available onsite in Oak Ridge, we had to stay in South Harriman, which is about twenty miles away. In the summertime of 1945, we moved into—

Iacovino: No, no, that was ’44. It was ’44. Because we went through the winter, because then the war was over.

Sheila Rowan

After her brother was drafted, Sheila Rowan's family moved to Happy Valley, Tennessee to support the war effort. Although Rowan and her sister, Jo-Ellen Iacovino, were too young to participate in the construction of the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant, their older sister, Colleen Black, and their parents worked to support the Manhattan Project. When the war ended, Rowan left Happy Valley.

Louis Rosen's Interview

Rosen: Well, my name is Louis Rosen. I was born in New York City, not the best part of the city. I’m now almost eighty-five years old. My parents were immigrants from Poland.  They were escaping from the pogroms, which were taking place with the Russian Cossacks coming in and raiding villages, especially where Jews where plentiful. My father came over here in about 1909. My mother—they were girl and boyfriends in the old country—came over two years later.

Gordon Steele's Interview

Mary Kalbert: My name is Mary Kalbert and I am in Friday Harbor, Washington, interviewing Gordon Steele on June 16, 2014 for the Atomic Heritage Foundation Manhattan Voices Project. Gordon?

Gordon Steele: My name is Gordon, and you want me to spell my name?

Kalbert: Please spell your name for me.

Steele: Gordon. G-O-R-D-O-N. Steele. S-T-E-E-L-E.

Lew Kowarski's Interview - Part 1

Kowarski: So born in Leningrad, February, 1907. Father, businessman. Mother had a little career of her own as a singer, but [inaudible]. Father, his business started to be paper, pulp and paper, and then from that he branched off to supplying paper to newspapers and magazines, and from there he branched off into participation in magazines. And so his business gradually grew less and less pulp and more and more literary, if you see what I mean.

Groueff: Yes.

John Mench's Interview

Mench: I am John Mench and sixty years ago I was a young man with a wife and a baby girl, a good job in industrial deferment, a brand new home and a mortgage. Inside of a week or two, I had in my hand a ticket to a camp, an Army camp, an industrial deferment that was cancelled. I still had a wife and a baby daughter but they were now living with my wife’s sister, and my home was rented. The only thing that hadn’t changed was the mortgage.

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