The Manhattan Project

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

Y-12 Plant

Ray Stein's Interview

Ray Stein: Okay. Ray Stein, S-T-E-I-N. I came from Erie, Pennsylvania originally. Are we started now? 

Cindy Kelly: Yes, we started. Tell me your story.

Stein: Okay. I had originally tried to join the Navy. I was at Penn State at the time. I tried to join the Navy, which—they rejected me—didn’t have enough teeth, they told me. 

Ray Stein

A member of the Special Engineer Detachment, Ray Stein participated in the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, working at the Y-12 Plant. He tells the story of security and secrecy during the project. At Y-12, he and his fellow SED members donned civilian clothes and were told to keep an eye out for possible saboteurs or spies. 

Anne McKusick

 

 

Anne McKusick worked at the Y-12 Plant for Tennessee Eastman. She remembers dancing with Ernest Lawrence at one of Oak Ridge’s dances. Because of the pervasive emphasis on secrecy, she nearly got in trouble for carrying around a book on Russian. She considered becoming a physicist after the war, but decided to go to medical school.

William J. Wilcox, Jr.'s Interview (2006)

William J. Wilcox, Jr.: My name is Bill Wilcox. Oak Ridge, Tennessee resident for sixty-three years. Ever since—pretty much since the beginning of Oak Ridge. Can’t imagine a better calling, a better career, a better place to live, better people to work for, better people to work with, or to be associated with. Very important contribution to our country that I was privileged to have a very tiny, small part of. It was great.

Graydon Whitman

Graydon Whitman, who worked in the Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge, speaks about General Leslie R. Groves and his pivotal leadership in the Manhattan Project. Whitman also discusses life at Oak Ridge, from the bus system to the tennis court dances to secrecy and security.

Robert Ellingson's Interview

Robert Ellingson: My name is Robert Ellingson, and it’s spelled E-L-L-I-N-G-S-O-N. 

Kelly: Great. Now if you could just tell us where you’re from, and how you happened to end up in the Manhattan Project.

Ellingson: I am from a little town in Idaho, and Idaho is west of Wyoming if you’re not familiar with the geography of the country. Most people look quizzical and say, “Iowa, that’s north of here, isn’t it?” But this is the one in the West. 

Robert Ellingson

Robert Ellingson came to work on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he met his wife and has lived ever since, and speaks fondly of life and work—he was employed in the Y-12 plant—in the “Secret City.”

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