The Manhattan Project

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

Oak Ridge, TN

Gordon Garrett's Interview

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Friday, December 22, 2017, and we’re here in Washington, D.C. with Mr. Gordon Garrett. And my first question for you is if you could please tell me your name and spell it.

Gordon Garrett: My name is Gordon Garrett. That’s G-o-r-d-o-n G-a-r-r-e-t-t.

Weisenberg: Let’s begin at the beginning. Can you tell me when and where you were born?

Garrett: I was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. March 13, 1937.

Gordon Garrett

Gordon Garrett grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where his father worked on the Manhattan Project.

Garrett was born on March 13, 1937 in Johnson City, Tennessee. He and his family moved to Oak Ridge when Garrett was seven years old. As Garrett remembered, “I will never forget coming to Oak Ridge. Riding on a bus, like everybody else did in those days, and the first thing you noticed is that everything looked very, very temporary. Everything was brand new. It was just very strange.”

Mary Kennedy

Mary Whittlesey Kennedy moved to Oak Ridge as a teenager in 1943 when her mother took a job there. In this interview, Mary discusses her years at Oak Ridge including her high school, school dances, and her involvement in clubs such as “the Penguin Club.” She fondly recalls her time in Oak Ridge. She also remembers her mixed reaction to the news of the atomic bomb and how her opinion has changed over the years.

Mary Kennedy's Interview

Kelly: This is Tuesday, February 6, 2018 and I’m in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida. I have with me Mary Whittlesey Kennedy. My first question to her is to tell us your name and spell it.

Kennedy: My present name is Mary Kennedy, K-E-N-N-E-D-Y, but my maiden name was Whittlesey, W-H-I-T-T-L-E-S-E-Y, when I went to Oak Ridge.

Kelly: Great. Talk about who your mother was, and how you found yourself in Oak Ridge, and what year that was that you found yourself there.

Valeria Steele Roberson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Tell us about your work and what you’ve learned about the African Americans who worked here in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.

Valeria Steele Roberson: I became interested in this project when I was a little girl. My grandmother used to tell us stories about the ‘40s, how they came here and left their children back in Alabama with their grandmother. She would always talk about giving one day to the bomb, and about the rats, and the plank sidewalks, and all those kinds of things.

Valeria Steele Roberson

Valeria Steele Roberson is the granddaughter of Kattie Strickland, an African American who moved to Oak Ridge from Alabama with her husband to work on the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Roberson discusses her family’s experience at Oak Ridge. Roberson comments on how Oak Ridge presented African Americans with higher-paying jobs and an opportunity for a better future with the prospect of social and economic advancement, despite pervasive segregation, discrimination, and continued inequality.

Richard Money's Interview

Willie Atencio: The first thing we need to know is, where were you born?

Dick Money: In Chicago.

Atencio: Okay, you were born in Chicago. What part of Chicago?

Money: South Side.

Atencio: South Side. Tell us a little bit about your parents.

Money: My father was a civil engineer. He had a company that built grain elevators. He was educated at Armour Institute, which later became Illinois Tech in Chicago. A wonderful man, of course.

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.

John Attanas's Interview

Lauren Attanas: My name is Lauren Attanas, that’s A-T-T-A-N-A-S. I am the granddaughter of John Attanas, who we are interviewing for the Atomic Heritage Foundation today. Can you say your name and spell it for the camera?

John Attanas: John George Attanas.

Lauren: Tell us the story of your origins. Where did your family come to the United States from?

John Attanas

John Attanas worked as a chemical engineer and supervisor for the E .I. DuPont Company during World War II. In his interview, he describes living and working on the Manhattan Project at both the Oak Ridge, TN and Hanford, WA sites. He recalls witnessing the Trinity Test and DuPont’s attention to radiation safety, as well as working for the Air Force and General Electric after the war. He shares anecdotes about his parents, family, childhood and interests in chemical engineering.

Pages

Subscribe to Oak Ridge, TN