Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Edward Teller Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1910-2005
Collection Number: 76074
Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material:
561 manuscript boxes, 49 oversize boxes, 10 open reel boxes, 3 cubic foot boxes, 2 card file boxes, 1 oversize folder, 2 album
boxes, 11 slide boxes, 6 envelopes, 7 motion picture film reels, 8 phonorecords, digital files
(287 linear feet
Correspondence, speeches and writings, reports, studies, memoranda, printed matter, photographs, motion picture film, video
tapes, sound recordings, and memorabilia, relating to chemical, molecular and nuclear physics; development of new energy resources;
national energy research planning; space exploration; and national and international security issues, including nuclear weapons
and arms control.
Hoover Institution Archives
Collection is open for research.
The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to
copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see
or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives
[Identification of item], Edward Teller Papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1976, , with increments acquired through 2003.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
A is for atom, B is for bomb : video tape, Hoover Institution Archives Ultimate weapon: the H-bomb dilemma video tape, Hoover
Institution Archives Maria Goeppert Mayer Papers, Mandeville Special Collections Library, UC San Diego Leo Szilard Papers,
Mandeville Special Collections Library, UC San Diego
|15 January 1908
||Born, Budapest, Hungary
||Student, Karlsruhe Technical Institute, Karlsruhe, Germany
||Student, University of Munich, Germany
||Research associate, University of Leipzig, Germany
||Ph.D., University of Leipzig
||Research associate, Guttingen, Germany
||Married Augusta (Mici) Harkanyi
||Rockefeller fellow, Copenhagen, Netherlands
||Lecturer, University of London, United Kingdom
||Professor of physics, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
||Naturalized, Washington, D.C.
||Professor of physics, Columbia University, New York City
||Physicist, University of Chicago, Illinois
||Physicist, Manhattan Engineer District of Columbia
||Physicist, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, University of California, Los Alamos, New Mexico
||Professor of physics, University of Chicago
||Author (with Francis Owen Rice),
The Structure of Matter
||Assistant director, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
||Consultant, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, University of California, Livermore, California
||Professor of physics, University of California, Berkeley
||Associate director, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
||Author (with Albert L. Latter),
Our Nuclear Future
||Director, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
||Professor of physics-at-large, University of California
||Author (with Allen Brown),
The Legacy of Hiroshima
||Professor emeritus and chairman, Department of Applied Science, University of California, Davis and Livermore
||Author (with Gerald W. Johnson, Wilson K. Talley, and Gary H. Higgins),
The Constructive Uses of Nuclear Explosives
||Author (with Segre, Kaplan, and Schiff),
Great Men of Physics
General Remarks on Electronic Structure and the Hydrogen Molecular Ion, and General Theory of Electron Structure
||University professor, University of California
The Miracle of Freedom
Energy: A Plan for Action
||University professor emeritus, University of California
||Director emeritus and consultant, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
||Senior research fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford, California
Nuclear Energy in the Developing World
Energy from Heaven and Earth
The Pursuit of Simplicity
Better a Shield than a Sword: Perspectives on Defense and Technology
||Presidential Citizens Medal,
Author, Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics
||Awarded a Magyarsag Hirneveert Dij, the highest official Hungarian government award
Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics
||Department of Energy Gold Award
||Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
|9 September 2003
||Died at his home on Stanford campus
Scope and Content of Collection
Edward Teller was a nuclear physicist whose work was instrumental in the development of the hydrogen bomb. His papers, which
document his life and career, include correspondence, speeches and writings, reports, studies, memoranda, printed matter,
photographs, motion picture film, video recordings, sound recordings, and memorabilia related to chemical, molecular and nuclear
physics; development of new energy resources; national energy research planning; space exploration; and national and international
security issues, including nuclear weapons and arms control.
The majority of the material was received as an increment to the original collection, with documents originating from offices
at the Hoover Institution, where Teller was a fellow, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, an organization which Teller
helped to found and where he later served as director. The original accession contains Correspondence with Hans Bethe, Cresson
Kearny, Nelson A. Rockefeller, and Lewis Strauss, as well as documents concerning the Commission on Critical Choices for Americans.
Born in Hungary in 1908, Teller received his Ph.D. while studying in Germany. In 1935, he immigrated to the United States,
where he became a professor at George Washington University and was later employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a
member of the Manhattan Project. During his career, Teller taught at various universities and authored several books. The
Incremental biographical file contains book-length works written about Teller's life, as well as a booklet created from an
exhibit on Teller at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The file also includes calendars and documents related to
Teller's birthday celebrations. See the Incremental oversize material for a scrapbook of letters given to Teller upon his
retirement and certificates awarded to Teller.
The incremental correspondence is arranged in three series based on provenance of material. The Incremental general correspondence
includes letters of Teller's family members, in addition to correspondence from both offices where he worked. The Incremental
Hoover Institution correspondence contains letters of Hans Bethe, Sidney Drell, Freeman Dyson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry
A. Kissinger, Eugene Wigner, and Lowell Wood, as well as autograph requests that Teller received. The Incremental Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory correspondence as well as the Incremental Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory alphabetical
file include letters related to Teller's scientific work, political advocacy, and business dealings. The correspondence regarding
his professorial work is related to his research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and his position at the Department
of Applied Science, a joint program of LLNL and the University of California, Davis. In addition, these series include correspondence
with colleagues at other research facilities, especially from Los Alamos National Laboratory. The bulk of Teller's political
papers fall into two categories: correspondence with public figures regarding his support for the development of a thermonuclear
deterrent arsenal and anti-ballistic missile defense systems, and documents related to his position on various governmental
advisory boards and committees. For additional correspondence, see also the research files for Teller's memoirs.
The Incremental Hoover Institution alphabetical file consists of files on political and scientific topics, mainly relating
to nuclear weapons. This file contains material on the atomic bomb, nuclear reactors, radiation, and the Strategic Defense
Teller maintained two offices, one at the Hoover Institution and one at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The Incremental
general office file consists of Teller's calendars, documenting a hectic schedule that required him to switch between his
two offices and travel frequently. Additional schedules and correspondence can be found in the Incremental Hoover Institution
office file, which documents Teller's working life as a Hoover Institution fellow. The Incremental Lawrence Livermore Office
file contains a publicity file that includes news stories concerning Teller, interview correspondence, and autograph requests.
Teller's extensive lecturing and consultation work required frequent travel, and this aspect of Teller's life is particularly
well-represented in the travel file.
In addition to publishing numerous scientific papers, Teller wrote on issues of defense and the use of nuclear weapons. The
Incremental general speeches and writings contain drafts and working material for several of Teller's monographs, as well
as for the unpublished work Technology in Warfare. The Incremental Hoover Institution speeches and writings include files
on Teller's speeches for various organizations and venues, while the Incremental Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory speeches
and writings consist of a chronological file of Teller's writings.
While working on his memoirs, Teller gathered correspondence of significance written and received over his long career and,
along with his editor Judith Shoolery, conducted interviews with people who played a role in his life. The research material
in the Incremental memoirs file includes correspondence of notable scientists and politicians such as Hans Bethe, Niels Bohr,
Freeman Dyson, Barry Goldwater, Werner Heisenberg, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson, Leo Szilard, and Harry Truman, as well
as research material related to Project Plowshare and Teller's time as a professor at the University of Chicago. In 1954,
Teller testified in a hearing concerning the security clearance of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist who served as an adviser
to the Atomic Energy Commission. Teller's testimony provoked responses from members of the scientific community who felt that
his testimony was a factor in the decision to revoke Oppenheimer's security clearance. The most extensive files on Oppenheimer
in the collection can be found in the research files for Teller's memoirs.
Teller was an active proponent of Project Plowshare, a government program that aimed to use nuclear explosions for peaceful
purposes, such as canal construction. The Incremental Project Plowshare file includes materials on Project Chariot, which
was an attempt to construct a harbor in Alaska using nuclear explosions, and the Kra Canal. For addition material on Project
Plowshare, see also research materials used for Teller's memoirs.
Throughout his career, Teller served in a variety of professional roles, including as a professor, consultant, and member
of various boards. The Incremental professional activities file documents several of these roles, including his position at
the Department of Applied Science, a UC Davis program conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In addition, this
file includes information on Teller's involvement in the Hertz Foundation and the Edward Teller Center for Science, Technology,
and Political Thought.
The Incremental writings by others series contains monographs inscribed by various authors such as Richard Nixon and Henry
Kissinger, as well as writings by members of Teller's family.
The Teller papers include a sizable amount of audio-visual material. There are Incremental photographs of Teller at various
stages of his life and photographs of Teller accompanied by prominent figures such as Ronald Reagan and Andrei Sakharov. Also
included are digital photographs available on the computer workstation in the Hoover Archives reading room. The Incremental
sound recordings and Incremental video recordings include recordings of Teller's speeches and interviews, as well as of Teller
playing the piano. Several transcripts of recordings are interspersed within these series. Also included are Incremental motion
picture film, containing an interview of Teller, and Incremental computer discs, containing data on Uranium.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Energy policy--United States.
United States--Armed Forces.
United States--Foreign relations.
United States--Politics and government.