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Crawford H. Greenewalt's Manhattan Project diaries

1942-1945
 Collection
Identifier: 1889

Abstract

Crawford H. Greenewalt (1902-1993) was an executive with the DuPont Company and president of the firm from 1948 to 1962. In 1942, when the DuPont Company agreed to participate in the Manhattan Project, Greenewalt was named chief liaison, working with the physicists at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, including Arthur Compton (1892-1962) and Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), who were developing techniques for plutonium separation. The collection consists of eight volumes of Greenewalt's diaries, which describe the history of the Manhattan Project and the development of the United States' first atomic bombs that were used to end the Second World War. The diaries describe the technical history of the project, as well as the relationships that developed between scientists.

Dates

  • 1942-1945

Creator

Extent

8 volume(s)

Biographical Note

Crawford H. Greenewalt (1902-1993) was an executive with the DuPont Company and president of the firm from 1948 to 1962.

Born on August 16, 1902 in Cummington, Massachusetts, Crawford H. Greenewalt was the son of Frank Lindsay Greenewalt (1865-1942) and Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt (1871-1950). He graduated from William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1922. Immediately after graduating from MIT, Greenewalt began a lifelong career with the DuPont Company.

He began as a control chemist in the Philadelphia chemical works. He was soon promoted to group leader, research supervisor, and assistant director of research. As assistant director of the Chemical Department from 1939 to 1942, he set up the pilot plant for the production of Nylon.

In 1942, when the DuPont Company agreed to participate in the Manhattan Project, Greenewalt was named chief liaison, working with the physicists at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, including Arthur Compton (1892-1962) and Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), who were developing techniques for plutonium separation. In December 1942, the DuPont Company signed an agreement with the U.S. government to design and construct a pilot plant-size reactor and to operate a plutonium production and separation facility. The site for this facility was to be in the desert of eastern Washington State, and the plant became known as the Hanford Engineer Works. By the spring of 1945, Hanford was the site of a full-scale plant producing plutonium that would be used in the atomic bombs exploded in New Mexico on July 16 and over Nagaski, Japan, on August 9, 1945.

After the war, Greenewalt was named head of DuPont's Explosives Department, and in 1948 he became president of the company, a position he held for fourteen years.

Scope and Contents

Crawford Greenewalt's diaries describe the history of the Manhattan Project and the development of the United States' first atomic bombs that were used to end the Second World War. The diaries describe the technical history of the project, as well as the relationships that developed between scientists (Arthur Compton [1892-1962], Enrico Fermi [1901-1954], J. Robert Oppenheimer [1904-1967], and Eugene Wigner [1902-1995]) and the DuPont engineers who were responsible for taking their theoretical research and transforming it into a full-scale plutonium production project. The diary shows that by early 1943 Greenewalt had succeeded in convincing Compton to reorganize the Metallurgical Laboratory along industrial lines similar to those at the DuPont Company's Chemical Department.

The diaries describe the completion of the first pilot-scale reactor at the Clinton Engineering Works at Oak Ridge, the process by which the Hanford site was selected, and the engineering works constructed. The diary describes the complex relationship between scientific and engineering problems and the ways in which both had to be solved in order to produce the plutonium that was furnished to Los Alamos for the first atomic bombs.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Related Materials

Crawford H. Greenewalt papers (Accession 1814), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Crawford H. Greenewalt collection of DuPont Company photographs (Accession 1983.267), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Crawford H. Greenewalt personal papers (Accession 2016), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Crawford H. Greenewalt photographs (Accession 1994.333), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Crawford H. Greenewalt films and sound recordings (Accession 2014.225), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library.

DuPont Company President Crawford H. Greenewalt’s office transparencies (Accession 1968.026), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Crawford H. Greenewalt papers, 1951-1993 (Collection number 2010.010), Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Crawford H. Greenewalt's Manhattan Project diaries
Status:
Online
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Laurie Sather

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400