John and Margaret Wickersham worked at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, John describes his time as a military policeman and guard at Los Alamos. He shares stories about patrolling for spies and meeting his wife. Margaret “Marge” (Hibner) Wickersham, a native of Española, discusses traveling to Los Alamos and working as a maid in the barracks and a cashier in the commissary. She also talks about growing up in Española and how Los Alamos has affected the area. The couple concludes by discussing their life in New Mexico after the Manhattan Project, including John’s construction work in the area.
Felix DePaula was an Army private stationed at the Trinity Site and Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. After the war, DePaula stayed at Los Alamos, and worked for the Zia Company there. In this interview, DePaula talks about life at Trinity Site, especially the isolation and the entertainment he and his fellow soldiers would come up with to pass the time. He describes the rodeos the military police would help set up. DePaula also witnessed the Trinity test, and talks about the feeling among the troops after seeing the detonation. He also recalls the high security at the gates to Los Alamos.
Lydia Martinez, from the neighboring community of El Rancho, worked at Los Alamos in various jobs during and after the Manhattan Project. She first worked as a baby-sitter and housekeeper for families such as the Fermis, Tellers, and Critchfields. She was also a junior technician in the X-7 group. After the war, she remained at Los Alamos National Laboratory, working in various units and finally retiring as a property administrative specialist. In this interview, she remembers her duties at Los Alamos and what it was like to be one of the younger women who worked there. She describes how she continued to keep ties with various families over the years, and recalls how she received the Laboratory’s Distinguished Performance Award.
Robert I. (“Bob”) Howes Jr. is an American physicist. He was a young child when his father, Robert Ingersoll Howes, was recruited to work as a scientist on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. In this interview, Howes shares snapshots of daily life in the Los Alamos community from the perspective of a child. He also describes some of the interaction between the Manhattan Project and local Pueblos and recalls the misadventures of the family dog.
Helene Suydam and her husband, Jerry, moved into J. Robert Oppenheimer’s house on Bathtub Row in Los Alamos shortly after the Manhattan Project ended in 1947. In this interview, Suydam discusses the history of Los Alamos and the homes built there during the Manhattan Project. She also discusses her relationship with some of the people who remained at the laboratory after the Project, including director Norris Bradbury.
Ellen Bradbury Reid moved to Los Alamos in the summer of 1944 when her father was hired by Norris Bradbury to work in the high explosives division. Reid recalls what it was like growing up as a child at Los Alamos and shares stories about her adventures into the Los Alamos hillside with her younger brother. She also shares memories of attending school in Los Alamos and discusses the diversity of the student body. On occasion, Reid even encountered famous scientists working on the atomic bomb, including J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller.
Dimas Chavez was a young child when he moved to Los Alamos with his family for his father to work for the Zia Company on the Manhattan Project. He recalls his struggle to learn English, and the support of his parents and members of the Los Alamos community to help him become fluent. He lived in a small house by Bathtub Row, and sold newspapers to J. Robert Oppenheimer. Social activities included watching wrestling matches, concerts, and riding inner tubes on the Rio Grande. Chavez unwittingly turned down an opportunity to watch the Trinity test.