Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Lawrence R. Hafstad Papers

Dates: 1939-1975

Executive Secretary, Research and Development Board, Department of Defense, 1947-1949; Director of Reactor Development, Atomic Energy Commission, 1949-1955.

The papers of Lawrence R. Hafstad mostly relate to his work as the Executive Secretary of the Research and Development Board of the Department of Defense, and as the first Director of the Reactor Development Division of the Atomic Energy Commission, and include details about his work on the Fuze Program. The papers include correspondence with friends and government officials, speeches, printed material, reports relating to atomic energy, and items relating to other projects.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one linear foot (about 1200 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The Truman Library has received no donation of copyright from the donor. Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in any other documents in this collection presumably belongs to the creators of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Dennis E. Bilger (1979), Thad Newman (2004).
Updated by: Thad Newman, 2004 as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.


[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1904 (June 18)Born, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1920-1928Inside Maintenance Engineer for Northwestern Bell Telephone Co.
1926Bachelor of Science, University of Minnesota.
1928-1940Work for Carnegie Institution of Washington on nuclear physics.
1933Ph. D in Physics, Johns Hopkins University.
1941-1942Work on photoelectric and radio proximity fuzes for bombs and rockets with Carnegie Institution of Washington.
1942-1947 Staff member and later Director of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
1945-1946 Organized and presented a lecture course on atomic energy for senior naval officers.
1946-1954 Professor of Physics at Johns Hopkins University.
1947-1949 Director of the Institute for Cooperative Research at Johns Hopkins University.
1947-1949 Executive Secretary of the Research and Development Board, Department of Defense.
1949-1955 Director of Reactor Development with the United States Atomic Energy Commission.
1955-1969 Vice President in charge of corporate research laboratories for the General Motors Corporation.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Lawrence R. Hafstad concern various aspects of his life and career, particularly his work as the Executive Secretary of the Research and Development Board in the Department of Defense from 1947-49, and his longer association with United States Atomic Energy Commission as the Director of Reactor Development from 1949-1955. The collection includes correspondence with friends and government officials, speeches, reports relating to atomic energy, charts, and printed materials.

The papers are arranged in two different series, the Biographical File and the Subject File. A significant part of the collection consists of Hafstad’s reports and published material, and related matter on atomic energy, how it should be handled, and its potential uses in one way or another. These reports and the related matter offer a very interesting view of how concerned the United States was with obtaining knowledge for the use of atomic energy for any purpose, particularly the delivery of atomic weapons. Also included are files in which Hafstad corresponds with other Government officials and friends over current subject matter, printed material in which Hafstad was writing or quoted, and maps and charts.

The collection also contains Hafstad’s Biographical File, which contains a short biography, a list of his publications, magazine articles relating to his work and other related material.

Further information about Lawrence R. Hafstad and the development of atomic energy and atomic weapons can be found at the Truman Library in the Student Research File – “The Quest for the Peaceful Atom: The Baruch Plan and the Atomic Energy Act of 1946,” the President’s Secretary’s Files (PSF), the Psychological Strategy Board Files (PSBF), and the R. Gordon Arneson Papers.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1 BIOGRAPHICAL FILE, 1943-1969
Biography of the life of Lawrence R. Hafstad, lists of his published works, printed material relating to his service with the government and other related material.
1-2 SUBJECT FILE, 1939-1975
Correspondence, reports, printed material, and other documents relating to Lawrence R. Hafstad, his government service as Executive Secretary of the Research and Development Board in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and his service as the first Director of the Reactor Development Division of the Atomic Energy Commission. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


FOLDER TITLE LIST
    BIOGRAPHICAL FILE, 1941-1970

Box 1

  • Biographical Material
    SUBJECT FILE, 1939-1975
  • Air Force - Office of Chief of Staff
  • Air Force - Proximity Fuze Program - 1940
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Air Force - Proximity Fuze Program - 1945 (VT Fuze Results)
  • Air Force - Proximity Fuze Program - 1945 (VT Swan Song)
  • Atomic Bomb - Letter from Edward Teller - August 10, 1947
  • Atomic Energy Commission - 1949-1957
  • Atomic Energy - Atoms for Peace
  • Atomic Energy - Fund for Peaceful Atomic Development
  • Atomic Energy - Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
  • Atomic Energy - Peaceful Uses (Flugge)

Box 2

  • Guided Missiles - Joint Research and Development Board - Personal File
  • Joint Research and Development Board - Dr. Lawrence Hafstad, Executive Secretary
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Sandia Corp., History of the
  • Stinnes, Edmund H. - Excerpts of Interview with Stanley Andrews, formerly head of Agricultural Food Dev., Military Govt. for Germany
  • United States Naval Ordnance Laboratory
  • United States Navy - Summary Report on Torpedoes Development

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]