The Manhattan Project

Corporate Involvement in the Manhattan Project

Karen Dorn Steele's Interview

Trisha Pritikin: We are in Lynnwood, Washington. Karen, can you spell your name and say your name, please?

Karen Dorn Steele: Yeah. So, my name’s Karen Dorn Steele. K-a-r-e-n D-o-r-n S-t-e-e-l-e.

Pritikin: Okay. I’d like to start with having you tell us, please, about your early life overseas growing up as the child of a press liaison for the U.S. Information Agency.

Karen Dorn Steele

Karen Dorn Steele is a journalist. As a reporter for the Spokesman Review, she broke the story about the Green Run test, in which the U.S. government released radioactive gases in 1949 over areas surrounding the Hanford Site. Subsequently, she covered the Hanford Downwinder Litigation, in which residents living around the Hanford Site from the 1940s through the 1960s were suing the federal government for the health complications they suffered from as a result of the exposure to radiation from Hanford. 

Carol Roberts's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Start by telling us your name and spelling it.

Carol Roberts: Okay, my name is Carol B. Roberts. C-A-R-O-L, initial B, as in Bobby, R-O-B-E-R-T-S. I came here in June 1944 with my mother and my sisters because my dad had been sent by DuPont out here. That is how I came to be such a smart aleck.

Kelly: Where did you live before?

Martin Moeller's Interview

Cindy Kelly:   I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Tuesday, November 27, 2018, and I have with me Martin Moeller. I’d like him to first say his name and spell it.

Martin Moeller: I’m Martin Moeller. M-A-R-T-I-N M-O-E-L-L-E-R.

Kelly:  Great. So tell me: who are you? Why did we invite you here?

Martin Moeller

Martin Moeller is the Senior Curator at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where the exhibition “Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project” opened in 2018. In this interview, Moeller describes the history behind the exhibition and its key themes. He focuses in particular on the role of the firm of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill in designing Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He also discusses how segregation was built into the Manhattan Project’s secret cities and the Manhattan Project’s legacies for American architecture.

Jackie Peterson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: It is Wednesday, September 12, 2018. I’m in Seattle, Washington, and I have Jackie Peterson with me. My first question to her is to tell me her full name and spell it.

Jackie Peterson: My name is Jackie Peterson. It’s J-a-c-k-i-e Peterson, P-e-t-e-r-s-o-n.

Kelly: I’d love to know more about yourself and how you got involved in this. Maybe you could start by just giving a brief bio, where you were born and when.

Jackie Peterson

Jackie Peterson is an independent curator and exhibit developer in Seattle, Washington. She curated an exhibition called “The Atomic Frontier: Black Life at Hanford” at the Northwest African American Museum from October 2015-March 2016. In this interview, Peterson describes the exhibition and what she learned about African American experiences at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. She explains how African Americans came to the Tri-Cities, the kinds of work they were able to obtain, and the (largely informal) segregation they faced.

James Cole

James S. Cole is an American engineer. He served as an airplane engineer during World War II, and began working at the K-25 plant at Oak Ridge, TN in 1945, shortly after the end of the war. Cole later worked at the Y-12 plant. In this interview, he recalls his early days at Oak Ridge and how he adjusted to the new environment. He shares several stories about his time working at K-25, including finding ways to fix broken pumps and valves. He also explains the importance of the Special Engineer Detachment and members of the military to the Manhattan Project. 

Gordon Fee's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Thursday, April 26, 2018, and I have with me Gordon Fee. Gordon, first, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your background and how you happened to come to Oak Ridge and what you’ve done here.

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