The Early Photography
From the Manhattan Project
to the Cold War
The career of photographer James Edward Westcott has been a long and illustrious one. Over the course of his career, he documented numerous historic events and photographed many notable personalities, including eight presidents.
This exhibit focuses on the years 1942-46 when he worked as a photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers' Manhattan Engineer District in the "secret city" of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the post-war, early Cold War era (1946-59), when control of the Oak Ridge Reservation passed to the Atomic Energy Commission.
Ed Westcott served a unique double role, officially documenting the historic construction and operation of the "atomic city" for the Army Corps of Engineers and unofficially documenting the daily life and social events of the enclosed community as a photojournalist for the first newspaper at Oak Ridge, the Oak Ridge Journal. His dual role as government documentarian and civilian photojournalist has preserved a rich cultural and historical record of that unique time and place.