AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVIII, No. 2, Fall 1996


Documentation Relating To Science at the Harry S. Truman Library

by Dennis E. Bilger and Randy L. Sowell

The Harry S. Truman Library contains the papers of President Truman and more than 400 other manuscript collections pertaining to his life and times. These materials are primarily political rather than scientific in nature. Most of the Library's collections relating to science and physics are concerned with development of atomic energy during the Truman administration. President Truman's papers include correspondence on this subject with such prominent physicists as Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, along with documentation of the early history of the Atomic Energy Commission. The Library also has extensive archival materials relating to the establishment of the National Science Foundation in 1950, the prophetic 1952 report of the President's Materials Policy Commission on future U.S. energy requirements, and the activities of the President's Scientific Research Board from 1946 to 1947.

Some of the collections at the Truman Library containing information on scientific research, science policy, and technology include the papers of James Boyd (Director, U.S. Bureau of Mines); Reginald Dean (Assistant Director, U.S. Bureau of Mines); William Golden (unofficial science advisor to President Truman); Lawrence Hafstad (Director of Reactor Development, Atomic Energy Commission); K.T. Keller (Director of Guided Missiles, Office of the Secretary of Defense); Lansing Lamont (author of Day of Trinity, a study of the first atomic bomb test); Frederick Osborn (U.S. Deputy Representative to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission); James Webb (Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the 1960s); and Horace Weihmiller (Director, Aircraft Consultant Service). The Library also has transcripts of oral history interviews with persons involved in science policy. These transcripts have been indexed and are available through interlibrary loan.

The Harry S. Truman Library is one of nine presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, an independent agency of the U.S. Government. It is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware Street, Independence, MO 64050. For more information, please telephone the Library at (816) 833-1400 or visit its website at

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AIP History Center Center for History of Physics
Phone: 301-209-3165
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