Ask the Hagley Historian! Hanford Employee Records

Monday, May 18, 2020

Question: I had a family member who worked for DuPont on the Manhattan Project…do you have any records on them? 

Answer: Unfortunately the DuPont Company never turned personnel records over to Hagley due to privacy concerns and regulations that govern how companies handle employee documents. But there are other ways to find information on the people who worked at some of DuPont’s Manhattan Project sites! 

The DuPont Atomic Energy Division Records (Manuscript Accession 1957) includes information on the Clinton Engineer Works (now the Oak Ridge National Laboratory), near Knoxville, Tennessee, and the Hanford Engineer Works at Richland, Washington. Although there are no employee records, you can see plant histories that describe construction and operations as well as things like personnel policy documents, and technical and operations documents. You will not be able to learn about individual employees but you can get a sense of what it was like to work at one of these sites. 

The best source of information at Hagley on DuPont’s Manhattan Project employees is “The Sage Sentinel,” company newspaper for the Hanford Engineer Works. It talks about employee events, things happening at the site, and even includes employee spotlights. Every edition of “The Sage Sentinel” has been scanned and is available in the Hagley Digital Archives: here.

The Digital Archives also has a selection of Hanford employee manuals, photos, films, and other materials.

Something to note is that Hagley’s resources are good for the Hanford and Clinton Engineer Works, but there are practically no materials for DuPont’s Manhattan Project operations at other sites like Chambers Works. 

Finally, the U.S. Department of Energy has access to some Manhattan Project employee records for DuPont and other sites. Check out the Department of Energy’s website for more information on their available resources.

Do you have a question for the Hagley Historian? If so, find him on Facebook here or send an email to

Lucas Clawson is the Hagley Historian at Hagley Museum and Library.​