Nuclear History Resources at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress might not be the first place scholars think to visit when researching nuclear history. The National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, the Foreign Relations of the United States series, various US presidential libraries, and international archives (UK, IAEA, etc) may come to mind first. However, the Library of Congress should not be discounted. There are a number of resources regarding nuclear history available to researchers at the Library of Congress, including:

The J. Robert Oppenheimer Papers

From the development of the atomic bomb to control of nuclear energy, this collection is a hallmark of the Library of Congress’s nuclear-related catalogues.

The Robert S. McNamara Papers

McNamara’s records from his tenure as Secretary of Defense and other positions are extensive, ranging from nuclear policy and arms control to East-West relations, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War.

The James R. Schlesinger Papers

Schlesinger’s records document his service as U.S. Secretary of Defense and U.S. Secretary of Energy, spanning nuclear policy, NATO, SALT, and Soviet relations.

The Paul H. Nitze Papers

Nitze’s positions in government included Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, and U.S. Delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.

The Arthur J. Goldberg Papers

Goldberg served as U.S. Representative to the United Nations and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, among other senior positions.

The Benjamin S. Loeb Papers

Loeb’s archives range from his involvement with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to the Israeli nuclear program in the 1960s.

The Brien McMahon Papers

McMahon served as Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy while in the U.S. Senate.

The Philip Hauge Abelson Papers

Hauge, a nuclear physicist, served as President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and editor of Science.

The Ernest W. Peterkin Papers

Peterkin was a member of the scientific group that photographed the atomic blasts during Operation Crossroads in 1946.

The Lawrence E. Glendenin Papers

Glendenin helped discover Promethium and served on the Manhattan Project, the Bikini Scientific Resurvey, and at Argonne National Laboratory.

The Byron S. Miller Papers

Miller records the enactment of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 and other scientific topics.

The Tom Connally Papers

Connally served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was deeply involved in the United Nations and NATO.

The John Von Neumann and Klara Dan Von Neumann Papers

John Von Neumann served as Commissioner on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and as scientific consultant to Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Library of Congress website also is useful for finding data on over 6,000 nuclear-related pieces of legislation. Here are only a few of the many documents available:

  • H.R.3026: A bill to prohibit the use of any nuclear weapon in Southeast Asia unless Congress first approves such use.

  • H.J.Res.267: A joint resolution to clarify Presidential power to order use of nuclear weapons in declared or undeclared war.

  • S.Res.67: A resolution calling on the President to promote negotiations for a comprehensive test ban treaty.

  • S.3017: A bill to provide for the establishment of a National Nuclear Museum.

  • S.332: A bill to restrict funding for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and for other purposes.

  • H.R.4821: Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act.

  • S.298: North Korea Nonproliferation and Accountability Act of 2013.

  • H.R.893: Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Accountability Act of 2013.

  • H.R.1985: Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act of 2009.

  • S.1138: Nuclear Safeguards and Supply Act of 2007.

  • H.Con.Res.133: Non-Proliferation Treaty Enhancement Resolution of 2005.

  • H.Res.950: Calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

 

Jonah Glick-Unterman is an undergraduate at Stanford University, where he works as a research assistant for former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and serves as class president.
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