Papers, 1942-1993

Matthias, Franklin T. (Franklin Thompson), 1908-1993


2 linear ft.
These are Col. Matthias's personal papers documenting his work on the Manhattan Project. They include original declassified documents from Hanford and a variety of newsclippings and magazine articles collected by Matthias between the time he left Hanford to his death, reflecting his continuing interest in the Manhattan Project and nuclear power.
The bulk of the papers are newsclippings, many generated by Matthias's need to maintain secrecy during the war and then provide information once the existence of the bomb was announced. There are, however, a number of original docments and photographs covering the construction at Hanford and Richland, including organization charts, lists of army personnel, site plans, texts of radio interviews and speeches, and internal publications dealing with employee morale, security and safety. Of note are a booklet of employee cartoons critical of the spartan living conditions at Hanford, a signed booklet of song parodies put together by the WACs assigned to Hanford, and a DuPont manual, "The Hanford Business Girl." The is also a copy of a large persentation book on the Hanford project issued to senior staff, and the relevant portion of the Corps of Engineers' history of the Manhattan Project.
The papers also contain a small amount of information on the Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, a copy of the first public report on the results of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and a history of the Sandia Corporation, which manufactured and tested atomic weapons under contract between 1949 and 1980.
Col. F. T. Matthias was commanding officer and area engineer of the Hanford Engineer Works of the Manhattan Engineer District.
Franklin T. Matthias was born in 1908 and graduated in engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1933. He began his career designing dams for the TVA. He joined the regular army in April 1941 to fulfill his ROTC obligation and supervised the construction of the Pentagon for Gen. Leslie R. Groves. When Groves was chosen to head the Manhattan Project, he appointed Matthias to find a site for the U-235 and plutonium refining facilities. Matthias chose Hanford, Washington, and was subsequntly charged with constructing both the Hanford Engineer Works and the town of Richland. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company was the prime contractor, with the Morrison-Knudsen Company handling regular construction. Work was begun in April 1943 and completed in February 1945. Matthias was released from the army at the conclusion of the war and returned to civil engineering work with Kaiser Engineers.
Unpublished finding aid available at the repository.

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