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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Oral Histories

Roger Fulling’s Interview (1985)

Roger Fulling was the Division Superintendent of Construction at DuPont during the Manhattan Project, which meant that he coordinated and expedited the construction projects at Hanford and Oak Ridge. He was also the main liaison with General Leslie R. Groves on the Hanford construction project. In this interview, Fulling discusses DuPont’s procurement issues and the support of American industry for the Manhattan Project. He also recalls visiting Hanford and the early days of working with General Groves. He explains the fate of Hanford’s orchards and farms after the Manhattan Project requisitioned the land, and his sadness at witnessing the orchards fall into ruin.

Roger Fulling’s Interview (1986) – Part 3

In this interview, Roger Fulling discusses the various positions he held at DuPont during and after the war. He recalls a special request from the Australian government for smokeless powder that DuPont had to fulfill, as well as outlining the structure and history of the DuPont Company. He explains the other wartime work of the DuPont Company and how DuPont had to balance its Manhattan Project work with its other military contracts.

Colonel Franklin Matthias’s Interview – Part 1 (1965)

Colonel Franklin Matthias was the officer-in-charge at the Hanford site. In this interview, Matthias discusses his early life and his placement as the officer-in-charge at Hanford. He also talks about the relationships between DuPont and the military and the scientists, as well as how cooperation was essential. Matthias remembers the various problems that plagued the Hanford site and how he and his colleagues overcame them.

General Leslie Groves’s Interview – Part 11

In this segment, Groves discusses the establishment of the project sites at Los Alamos and Hanford. He talks about the role Oppenheimer had in influencing the choice of the Los Alamos site, and the planning that went into ensuring the site was both accessible but would not draw attention. In regards to Hanford, he talks about the innovative efforts to gauge water pollution and protect the salmon in and around the Columbia River.

Dale Babcock’s and Samuel McNeight’s Interview (1965)

Dale Babcock and Samuel McNeight were DuPont employees tasked with constructing the B Reactor at Hanford. The pair discusses the challenges of building a water-cooled reactor. Babcock discusses the process invented to can the uranium slugs, while McNeight recalls the fish laboratories used to test the effects of radiation on the environment.

Roger Fulling’s Interview (1986) – Part 1

Roger Fulling began working with the DuPont Company in 1934. During World War II he was a division superintendent in DuPont’s War Construction Program. He also served as acting Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Eisenhower Administration. In this interview, Fulling explains his respect for General Leslie R. Groves, as well as the hierarchy of DuPont staff supporting him. He remembers key DuPont personnel, including Granville Read, Mel Wood, Gilbert Church, Frank Mackie, and others. Fulling talks about the troubles in acquiring materials and skilled laborers for the Hanford construction project. He also explains why he believes American industry should be praised for its tireless work for the war effort.

Lawrence Denton’s Interview

A native of Northern Idaho, Larry Denton was recruited by his father to work on the B Reactor in Hanford, Washington. At the age of twenty-one, Denton served as a shipping clerk, where he received and issued welding gases. Later on, Denton worked as a reactor operator at B Reactor. In his interview, Denton discusses everything from safety measures to recreation activities to segregation, and offers his opinion on the decision to drop the atomic bomb.