The Manhattan Project

Life in the Secret Cities

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.

Victor Kumin

Victor Kumin was a young scientist when he was drafted to the U.S. Army in 1944. In September of that year, he was transferred to Los Alamos. Here he was part of the Special Engineer Detachment (SED). 

Peter Malmgren's Interview

Peter Malmgren: Okay. My name is Peter Malmgren. It’s spelled M-a-l-m-g-r-e-n. My Spanish neighbors find it impossible to pronounce, but that in fact is my Norwegian family name.

Nate Weisenberg: Where did you grow up?

Malmgren: Newark, New Jersey.

Weisenberg: When you were growing up, did you have a particular interest in oral history?

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.

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.

Jon Hunner's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly in Los Cruces, New Mexico and it’s December 7, 2017. I have with me John Hunner. The first question for John is to say his name and spell it.

Jon Hunner: My name is Jon Hunner. J-O-N, H-U-N-N-E-R.

Kelly: Jon, just to get some station identification, why don’t you tell people who you are and what you've been doing professionally for the last thirty years.

John Ruminer's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is October 12, 2017. I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I have with me John Ruminer. I’d like him to say his name and spell it.

John Ruminer: You got it just right. It’s John Ruminer – R-U-M-I-N-E-R.

Kelly: Terrific. John, why don’t you talk about where we are in Santa Fe, and a little bit about the history of this place?

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