The Manhattan Project

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

Oak Ridge, TN

Mary Rockwell

Mary Rockwell was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She had just graduated from high school when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in late 1941. After working for the Tennessee Valley Authority for a short period, she was hired as a secretary at the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, TN. In this interview, Mary describes life at Oak Ridge during the war and meeting her future husband Ted, who was a graduate student at Princeton working as an engineer at the Y-12 plant. Ted and Mary were married at the Chapel-on-the-Hill in Oak Ridge.

Jane Yantis's Interview

Richard Rhodes: Would you say your name and then spell it to start with?

Jane Yantis: It’s Jane Yantis, J-A-N-E, Y-A-N-T-I-S.

Rhodes: Good, thank you. Where were you born and when, if you want to tell me?

Yantis: I was born in Center, Texas.

Rhodes: When?

Yantis: In 1920.

Rhodes: Good.

Yantis: March the 23rd, 1920.

Jane Yantis

Jane Yantis was the wife of a petroleum engineer, Carl Yantis, who worked at the Oak Ridge site during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Yantis discusses how she and her husband ended up at the Oak Ridge area. She remembers accidentally fermenting apples in her pantry, the difficulty to find adequate housing, and how friendly everybody was. She also discusses the alcohol restriction at Oak Ridge, the tight security, and creating ornaments for her Christmas tree.

Harold E. Hoover's Interview

Harold Hoover: My name is Harold E. Hoover, that’s H-O-O-V-E-R, commonly known as Hal, H-A-L.

Cindy Kelly: Why don’t you start by telling me how you got into the SED [Special Engineer Detachment]? How you happened to get into the SED, and then what you found when you got to Oak Ridge?

Harold E. Hoover

Harold Hoover was a member of the Special Engineer Detachment during the Manhattan Project. He worked as a filter foreman at the Y-12 Plant, but his real job was in counterintelligence, to ensure no sabotage occurred. 

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