Stephane Groueff: Start from the beginning and if you can give me in a few words the history of how it started, who actually came into contract, and how?
Life in the Secret Cities
[Audio distortion occurs throughout the interview.]
Stephane Groueff: Recording interview with Mr. Leon Love at Oak Ridge July 15, 1963. Mr. Love works with Y-12.
Would you mind repeating sort of some of the characteristics of Y-12, some of the figures? For instance, how many buildings? How many magnets? How many Alpha [calutrons] and Beta [calutrons]? How many units in each?
Leon Love: There were five buildings containing the output separators, and there were nine tracks total in these five buildings.
Robert JS Brown: I'm Robert JS Brown.
Robert S. Norris: You are recording this oral history for the Atomic Heritage Foundation on June third, two thousand fifteen in Washington, DC.
Brown: Yes, right.
Robert S. Norris: How did you become involved in the Manhattan Project? Can you tell us about that?
Kai Bird: Let us begin at the beginning and I think the viewers of this will want to know first about your own background. What year were you born?
Bob Carter: I was born in 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bird: On what day?
Carter: February 3, 1920.
Bird: Okay, 1920, what was sort of before modern physics, quantum physics was invented as such.
Hunt: I started working for DuPont in 1937 at Old Hickory [in Tennessee] in the power department. I was very anxious to do the best I could, so I made a special effort to learn everything.
Where were you when you were told to return to Wilmington?
Hunt: At that point I was a power superintendent at Childersburg Ordnance.
That was in Alabama?
Hunt: In Alabama.
When did you find out about Hanford?
Dorothy Wilkinson: My name is Dorothy Wilkinson, D-o-r-o-t-h-y W-i-l-k-i-n-s-o-n.
Cindy Kelly: Okay, if you could just tell a little bit about where you were born and how you happened to come Oak Ridge.
Paul Wilkinson: My name is Paul Wilkinson, spelled P-a-u-l W-i-l-k-i-n-s-o-n.
Cindy Kelly: Great, and we will start the same way, by your telling us where you are from and how you ended up at Oak Ridge.
Paul Wilkinson got a job at the Y-12 Plant Oak Ridge after graduating college. He supervised calutron work and some of the “calutron girls,” including his future wife, Dorothy. Wilkinson.
Interviewer 1: Why did your family come to Oak Ridge? When did that happen?
Rowan: Well, we actually came to Oak Ridge in 1945. We left Nashville in early 1945. Because there was no housing available onsite in Oak Ridge, we had to stay in South Harriman, which is about twenty miles away. In the summertime of 1945, we moved into—
Iacovino: No, no, that was ’44. It was ’44. Because we went through the winter, because then the war was over.
Rowan: We should have gotten our story together. [Laughter.]
After her brother was drafted, Jo-Ellen Iacovino and her family moved to Happy Valley, Tennessee to support the war effort.