The Manhattan Project

Social Life

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.

Mary Brennan's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Tuesday, October 17, 2017. I am in Santa Fe with Mary Brennan. My first question for Mary is to say her full name and spell it.

Mary Brennan: I’m Mary Brennan, that’s B-R-E-N-N-A-N.

Kelly: Great, do you have a middle name?

Brennan: I use Godschalx, G-O-D-S-C-H-A-L-X. Mary Godschalx Brennan.

Mary Brennan

Mary Brennan lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She and her husband, Curtiss, moved next door to Dorothy McKibbin, “the Gatekeeper to Los Alamos.” In this interview, Mary discusses her memories of Dorothy, how Dorothy ended up in New Mexico, and Dorothy’s relationship to J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project. In addition, she explains the specificities of the house and how it was a social destination for members of the project.

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.

Suzanne Langsdorf's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. This is Atomic Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. and it is Wednesday, November 15, 2017. I have with me Suzanne Langsdorf. My first question is for her to tell us her full name and spell it.

Suzanne Langsdorf: My name is Suzanne Martyl Langsdorf. That is spelled S-U-Z-A-N-N-E, Martyl is M-A-R-T-Y-L, and Langsdorf is L-A-N-G-S-D-O-R-F.

Kelly: Very good.

Langsdorf: I have to spell it a lot in real life.

Curtiss Brennan's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Tuesday, October 17, 2017 and I am in Santa Fe. I have with me Curtiss Thomas Brennan. My first question is to please, say your name and spell it.

Curtiss Brennan: Okay. My name is Curtiss Thomas Brennan and it’s Curtiss, C-U-R-T-I-S-S and Brennan, B-R-E-N-N-A-N.

Kelly:  Perfect. Now we’re sitting in Dorothy McKibbin’s former house. I hope you can enlighten us to something about why she built this house and why she built it the way she did.

Elspeth Bobbs's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is October 12, 2017, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am with Elspeth Bobbs, who has some very interesting stories. But first, I want Elspeth to say her name and spell it.

Elspeth Bobbs: Elspeth. It's Scottish. E-L-S-P-E-T-H.

Kelly: Your married name, last name, Bobbs? 

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