The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Los Alamos, NM

Richard Money

Richard "Dick" Money was a chemist. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he was introduced to the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory. He was hired by the Met Lab and sent to work for Clinton Laboratories in Oak Ridge, TN during the Manhattan Project. He went on to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory for many years and then became a science and math teacher. In his interview, Money discusses how he became involved in the Manhattan Project and his jobs and responsibilities while working in these secret labs.

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein was the daughter of Elbert Lowdermilk, the contractor whose construction company built roads and utility lines around Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Lowdermilk Honstein describes her father’s projects, from building the first road to Los Alamos to successfully maneuvering an “atom smasher” up the hill. She discusses her life in Española and her memories of exploring Los Alamos and the Pueblos. She also describes her relationship with her father.

Margaret and John Wickersham's Interview

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Willie Atencio: Mr. John Wickersham, we’re trying to interview you and get information from you, because you were at Los Alamos. You were there while the bomb was being developed. 

John Wickersham: Oh, yeah. But I don’t know nothing about that.

Atencio: Your first name, ma’am?

Margaret (Marge) Wickersham: I’m Margaret.

Margaret Wickersham

Margaret "Marge" (Hibner) Wickersham grew up in the Fairview area of Española, NM.

During the Manhattan Project, she commuted by bus from Española to Los Alamos, where she worked as a maid and as a cashier in the commissary. At Los Alamos, she met and married her husband John Wickersham.

After the war, the Wickershams settled in Española, where they raised five children.

Felix DePaula's Interview (2008)

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

David Schiferl: Tell us how you got here.

Felix DePaula: Well, let me start with being inducted into the service in 1944, October of ’44, into the Corps of Engineers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Then from there, I was sent to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and I spent a couple of months in the wintertime at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Julia Maestas

Julia Maestas is the granddaughter of Manuel Maestas, a homesteader at Los Alamos, and daughter of Elipio Maestas, who worked as a civil guard for the Corps of Engineers at Los Alamos. In her interview, she discusses her family’s history and what it was like growing up in Los Alamos. She shares childhood memories about friends, skating, and watching movies. She also describes how her tri-cultural background and education at Los Alamos led to her career in speech pathology and educational psychology.

Lionel Ames's Interview

Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It’s February 22, 2017. I have Lionel Ames with me. My first question to him is tell us your full name and spell it, please.

Ames: Lionel Ames, L-I-O-N-E-L, Ames, A-M-E-S.

Kelly: Terrific. First question is to tell us something about yourself: when you were born and where.

Lionel Ames

Lionel Ames is an Army and Manhattan Project veteran. In this interview, he talks about how his brother Maurice Shapiro, who worked as a scientist at Los Alamos, was able to get him assigned to the top-secret site. Ames recalls his work at Los Alamos in the chemistry lab, and his role as a cantor for the weekly Jewish services. He also discusses daily life at Los Alamos. He concludes by discussing his post-war life as an entertainer.  

Ruben Salazar's Interview

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Willie Atencio: Mr. Salazar, the [Los Alamos National] Laboratory is very interested in getting information of the people that were at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. Can you tell us when you first went to work at Los Alamos? What year?

Ruben Salazar: 1945, I guess. Or late ’44.

Atencio: Okay. What was your first job at Los Alamos?

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