The Atomic Heritage Foundation is pleased to announce that the Manhattan Project Veterans Database now includes more than 10,000 profiles. The database is the most comprehensive list of Manhattan Project veterans online. Encompassing everyone from top-echelon scientists to construction workers, the profiles shed light on the thousands of people who worked on the secret World War II effort to develop the atomic bomb. Profiles range from Manhattan Project leaders J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves to Jane Amenta, a secretary and a member of the Women’s Army Corps.
“The National Park Service is predicting a dramatic influx of visitors in the coming years to the sites of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park,” states AHF President Cynthia C. Kelly. “This database will be an important tool to engage these visitors, and audiences from around the world, with the stories of the men and women who worked on the project.”
An estimated 500,000 people, or about one of every 280 people in the United States at the time, worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. Through the profiles, visitors can encounter the stories of people such as the pioneering female scientist Leona Marshall Libby. Pregnant with her first child, Leona wore baggy clothes to hide her pregnancy so she would not be forced to stop working at the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory. The public can also learn about project staff such as Leonard Czarniecki, a procurement officer at Oak Ridge, TN, and view numerous photographs and documents provided by his family.
Each profile shows where the veteran worked and the position he or she held. If further information is available about the veteran, AHF includes a brief biography, a timeline, and photographs and documents. Visitors can use filters to find veterans who worked at different Manhattan Project sites, from the scientific laboratory at Los Alamos, NM to lesser-known sites including Ames, IA and Dayton, OH.
Users can also search by role to find information about women scientists, engineers, members of the Special Engineer Detachment, and more. The database also includes profiles of some non-Manhattan Project veterans, such as early nuclear pioneers, German scientists who worked on Nazi Germany’s efforts to develop the bomb, and American scientists and engineers who were involved in nuclear testing after World War II.
The Manhattan Project Veterans Database would not have been possible without the generosity of veterans’ family members, many of whom have shared information and photographs. AHF’s veterans’ profiles also incorporate people identified by the Manhattan Project Heritage and Preservation Association; Alan Carr, the historian of Los Alamos National Laboratory; and Burt Pierard, who shared Manhattan Project-era telephone books from Hanford. Special thanks to AHF’s interns, who have worked tirelessly to expand the number of profiles on the website.
AHF continues to add more profiles to the database, and regularly highlights individual profiles on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. If you have information about someone profiled on our website, or would like AHF to add a profile of a family member or friend, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cindy Kelly explains AHF’s vision: “We want to make the profiles as complete as possible. Someday, visitors to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park may be able to search on a kiosk for a veteran and find out more about their top-secret work on the Manhattan Project. It will help bring this history home.”