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    Sale 2013

    Important Scientific Books: The Richard Green Library

    17 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 312

    SMYTH, Henry DeWolf (1898-1986). 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. Washington, D.C.: For the War Department, 1945.

    Price Realised  

    SMYTH, Henry DeWolf (1898-1986). 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. Washington, D.C.: For the War Department, 1945.

    4o (262 x 197 mm). Lithoprint version, diagrams in text. Original plain wrappers, stapled (staples rusting, some very minor soiling); cloth folding case. Provenance: William Bentinck Smith (given to); Harvard College Library (gift label on folding case, Houghton Library shelf label on back inside wrapper).

    ADVANCE PRINTING, released to the public on 12 August 1945, six days after the bombing of Hiroshima, and containing a full account of the development work carried out between 1940 and 1945 by the Manhattan Project that culminated in the production of the first atomic bomb. The first version of the report was a mimeographed copy (identifiable by the word "secret" stamped on every page), hand-delivered by military messenger, which the recipients were required to read immediately and return to the waiting messenger. These mimeographed copies were apparently destroyed for security reasons, as no copies, either whole or in parts, have been recorded in existence except for Smyth's master copy housed at Princeton. 1,000 copies were then lithoprinted from typescript in the facility for reproducing secret documents in the Adjutant General's Office in the Pentagon. Smyth, in his article describing the genesis of his report, appears to state that all copies of the first lithoprint version were distributed to the press in press packets on 11 August. [With:] A War Department press release broadside announcing the release of the report. One page, 265 x 201 mm. In the release, the War Department notes that "nothing in this report discloses the necessary military sercrets as to the manufacture or production of the weapon. It does provide a summary of generally known scientific facts and gives an account of the history of the work, and of the role played in the development by different scientific and industrial organizations." "Because of the unusually complicated publication history of this work, it would appear that the presence of the mimeographed press-release is necessary to determine the first printing" (Norman 1962). PMM 422e.


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