The Manhattan Project

Civilian Life

Esther Floth's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Okay, I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It’s August 9, 2016 and we are in Berkeley, California. I have with me Esther Floth. Our first question I want to ask is for her to tell us your name and to spell it.

Esther Floth: My name is Esther Marie Green Floth. It’s E-S-T-H-E-R; last name F as in “friendly,” L-O-T-H.

Kelly: Great. Esther, tell us something about your beginnings. When were you born and where were you born, and something about your childhood.

Louis Hempelmann's Interview - Part 2

Louis Hempelmann: He [J. Robert Oppenheimer] just told me what the situation was. He did not ask me, which is the same thing when he got sick because I was in the radiology department here and I knew something about it. He would call me up, tell me what he had done, and then say “What do you think of it?” By that time, the only thing I could say was, “That was fine.”

Verna Hobson's Interview - Part 2

Martin Sherwin: Was there a lot of effort to trying to figure out the psychology that the people who were sitting in judgement [at J. Robert Oppenheimer’s security hearing] would have? That “They will probably be thinking this, so therefore we should do that?” Do you recall any of that?

Verna Hobson: No. I remember that after the first—they came back, I suppose, the weekend in the middle of the hearings. I think they had a few days, and then they came back, and then they went to Washington again for the rest of it.

Jean Bacher's Interview

Jean Bacher: Ruth Valentine said, “I shall take Ruth [Tolman]’s desk.” She always saved letters. She had marvelous long letters from Robert, you know, especially at the time of the hearings. I knew they were just terribly close and shared a great deal. On the drawer of the desk, she’d said, “Destroy these.”

Martin Sherwin: You saw it happen? 

Bacher: I didn’t see her burn it, because at that time we still burned and they just threw them out in the burner in the back yard.

Dorothy Ritter's Interview

Cindy Kelly: It is Sunday, May 15, 2016, and we’re in Houston, Texas. I want to start by asking you to tell me your name and then spell it.

Dorothy Ritter: My name is Dorothy Oley Ritter. D-O-R-O-T-H-Y O-L-E-Y R-I-T-T-E-R.

Kelly: All right. Dorothy, why don’t we begin by having you tell us something about your family, when you were born, your childhood?

David Bohm's Interview

Martin Sherwin: At the Stanhope Hotel in New York, June 15th, 1979.

David Bohm: I met him in about 1941. I went to Caltech to do graduate work, and I wasn’t very satisfied there. It was much too limited technically.

Sherwin: Where did you do your undergraduate work?

Mildred Goldberger's Interview

Martin Sherwin: You must have met the Oppenheimers when Murph [her husband, Marvin Goldberger] met them?

Mildred Goldberger: No.

Sherwin: No?

Goldberger: No, Murph met [J. Robert] Oppenheimer quite early on, I think. Not during the war. But he was an early invitee to the Rochester Conferences. I am sure Oppenheimer was there. In any case, they were known to one another.

Sherwin: Right, I had known that in ’48—

Goldberger: Yeah, right.

St. John, VI

Though not a Manhattan Project location, the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands played an important role in the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Soon after he was stripped of his security clearance in the infamous Atomic Energy Commission hearing, Oppenheimer and his wife Kitty began spending time on the island. They bought a strip of land in the Hawksnest area from the Gibney family, and built a house there. Robert and Kitty became fixtures of island social life, throwing parties on a regular basis.

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