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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Oral Histories

Joanna McClelland Glass’s Interview

Joanna McClelland Glass is a playwright best known for her play “Trying,” based on her relationship with Francis Biddle, who was the United States Attorney General under FDR and chief American judge at the Nuremberg Trials. Glass worked for Biddle from 1967 until his death in 1968. Glass is the author of two novels, one of which is “Woman Wanted,” that was turned into a film. In this interview, she discusses her childhood and attempts to make it as a playwright, before turning to her relationship with Francis Biddle.

Irwin P. Sharpe’s Interview

Irwin P. Sharpe was recruited for the Manhattan Project by his employer, General Electric, after he graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in engineering. His work took place in the Woolworth Building in Manhattan, where he played a key role in developing special vacuum pumps and seals to handle fluorine and uranium hexafluoride. He and his team encountered several challenges to create the proper equipment and maintain the standard of cleanliness and tightness. He recalls his interactions with his fellow engineers, as they raced to solve the problems presented to them by the physicists and chemists. He made trips to Oak Ridge to test the products that they developed in Manhattan. Sharpe came in contact with several key figures of the Manhattan Project, including General Groves and key physicists and engineers. In this interview, he describes the security and secrecy surrounding the project and addresses the debate over the bomb that still exists today.