William Ginell is a physical chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project. In this interview he describes how he became interested in chemistry and his experiences working at Columbia University and Oak Ridge, TN on the gaseous diffusion process. He reflects on the Army, living conditions, and the intense secrecy and security during the project. He also discusses his life after the war, especially his work at Brookhaven, Atomics International, and Douglas Aircraft.
Corporate Involvement in the Manhattan Project
[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Please note that approximately the first three minutes of the interview are audio only.]
Willie Atencio: Your name?
Esequiel Salazar: Esequiel Salazar.
Atencio: Born where?
Salazar: In Pojoaque.
Atencio: Pojoaque. What was your first experience with the Manhattan Project?
Cindy Kelly: This is Tuesday, November 8, 2016, in New York City. My name is Cindy Kelly, and I am here with Rachel Erlanger. Now, first thing you should do is say your name and then spell it.
Rachel Erlanger: All right. R-a-c-h-e-l and Erlanger, E-r-l-a-n-g as in Gertrude, -e-r. But, I wasn’t married then, was I? I think maybe you want my maiden name.
Kelly: What was your maiden name?
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, November 17, 2016, Chicago, Illinois. I have with me Henry Frisch. My first question for him is to say your name and spell it, please.
Henry Frisch: Okay. It’s Henry Frisch, F-r-i-s-c-h.
Kelly: Why don’t you tell us who you are?
[To see an edited version of the interview published by S. L. Sanger in Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford, Portland State University, 1995, click here.]
Clare Whitehead: I got raised to Tech Sergeant, so he immediately got raised to Tech Sergeant. He said, “Well, we figured it was too bad we did not get married earlier. We would have been generals by the time we retired.” [Laughter]
Cynthia Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is Wednesday, August 24th, 2016. I am in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and with me is Dr. Baldwin Sawyer. My first question for him is to say his name and spell it.
Baldwin Sawyer: Baldwin Sawyer, B-a-l-d-w-i-n S-a-w-y-e-r. My initials are B.S, and in case anybody is wondering, that stands for Boy Scout.
Kelly: Well, that’s interesting. [Laughs] Can you tell us when and where you were born?
Cindy Kelly: It is Sunday, May 15, 2016, and we’re in Houston, Texas. I want to start by asking you to tell me your name and then spell it.
Dorothy Ritter: My name is Dorothy Oley Ritter. D-O-R-O-T-H-Y O-L-E-Y R-I-T-T-E-R.
Kelly: All right. Dorothy, why don’t we begin by having you tell us something about your family, when you were born, your childhood?