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Nuclear History in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Historical primary sources on nuclear history and atomic energy

Books in SCARC Collections

The History of Atomic Energy Collection (link is to full collection results, sorted by date oldest) is our largest collection related to nuclear history. Comprised of thousands of books, serials, photographs, and cultural artifacts, this collection is a major resource for research on the political, scientific, economic, technolgocial, and social issues that have characterized the nuclear age. Dating from the late 19th century to the present day, the collection covers numerous topics such as: early scientific discoveries, the Manhattan Project and World War II, military aspects of atomic energy, civil defense, nuclear testing, modern nuclear engineering, the effect of the atomic age on society and culture, biographies of key figures in nuclear history, and fiction, poetry, drama, and music related to the atomic age. It even has two Geiger counters! Board games, movie posters, and sound recordings round out this fascinating collection.


The Bart and Sally Hacker Nuclear History Collection is comprised of books, government publications and unpublished reports dealing with multiple aspects of nuclear technology and the atomic age. The Hacker Collection is especially strong in materials on nuclear fallout, radiation protection, and histories of the atomic age dating from 1975 on.


The History of Science Rare Book Collection is our largest rare book collection, with significant strengths in nuclear history, especially early physics and other scientific discoveries and developments. Materials related to nuclear history range from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Search for cataloged items via the Advanced Keyword search using keywords such as nuclear or atomic.


The Personal Library of Ava Helen and Linus Pauling contains numerous materials related to the Paulings' work for nuclear disarmament and world peace. The nuclear history portions of this collection are particularly strong in materials related to radioactive fallout, nuclear weapons, and arms control.