News | March 15, 2024

Oppenheimer Signed Manhattan Project Report Sells for $53,594

RR Auction

The Oppenheimer report cover

A historic report detailing the development of the atomic bomb signed by J. Robert Oppenheimer and 23 other minds behind the Manhattan Project has been sold for $53,594 by Boston-based RR Auction.

The report, written in 1945 by Henry D. Smyth and titled Atomic Bombs: A General Account of the Development of Methods of Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes Under the Auspices of the United States Government, 1940-1945, offers a comprehensive overview of the scientific and administrative journey leading to the creation of the formidable weapon. Authored prior to the Trinity test, the first atomic bomb trial at Alamogordo, the report provides a detailed narrative of the project's evolution.

The signatures on the cover are of particular significance, obtained by Nellie V. Sanderson, Gen. Leslie Groves' War Department secretary. These distinguished individuals were approached during their visits to Groves, adding a personal touch to this historic document.

Accompanying it are many letters, documents, and ephemera detailing Sanderson's service with Groves and the War Department. Among these artifacts are her Manhattan Project shoulder patch, employment documents, and a business card for Major General Leslie Richard Groves, the driving force behind the project.

The sale comes on the heels of Christopher Nolan's atomic bomb blockbuster which dominated the 96th Academy Awards, winning Best Picture along with six other categories.

"We're honored to have facilitated the sale of such a significant artifact. This document not only represents a crucial chapter in scientific history but also serves as a poignant reminder of the ethical considerations surrounding technological advancement," said Bobby Livingston, Executive Vice President at RR Auction.  

Other highlights from the sale include: