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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Viola Lockhart “Vi” Warren (1896-1968) was a writer and historian who lived at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project. She was married to Stafford Warren, the Chief Medical Officer of the Manhattan Engineering District. Warren was born in 1896 in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska and attended the University of California, Berkeley and Radcliffe College. She met her husband while at Berkeley and the pair were married in 1920, two years after their graduation. They moved together to Rochester, New York, where she wrote reviews for the local newspaper Democrat and Chronicle.

After her husband was recruited to the Manhattan Project, they moved to the Oak Ridge site. Warren wrote articles on women’s issues for the Oak Ridge Journal. During the project, it was jarring to her how little her husband could share with her about his work. In the past, he had been able to discuss work with her openly. They did correspond, however, about his role with the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests after the war.

When her husband joined UCLA’s new medical school, she became a professor there as well, lecturing in history. Her research often intersected with her husband’s career, covering topics on the history of medicine and California history. While at UCLA she gave public speeches on diverse topics, including life at Oak Ridge. She passed away in 1968.

Warren’s papers are available at the UCLA Library. Excerpts from her columns at Oak Ridge feature prominently in AHF Board Member Denise Kiernan’s book, The Girls of Atomic City.

Viola L. Warren's Timeline
1896 Sep 6th Born in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska.
1918 Graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.
1923 Completed graduate work at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
19181920 Worked as an editor for the Journal of Electricity.
1920 Married Stafford Warren.
19381943 Wrote for the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York.
19441946 Wrote for the Oak Ridge Journal while her husband worked on the Manhattan Project.
19531958 Taught at UCLA as a lecturer in the history department.
1968 Passed away.

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