Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


John Coster-Mullen Papers

Dates: 1945-2009.

Atomic Bomb Researcher.

This collection contains copies of correspondence, research materials, printed materials, photographs, speeches, and two drafts of John Coster-Mullen's manuscript pertaining to his research on "Little Boy and Fat Man: The First Atomic Bombs."

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 5 linear inches (about 800 pages).
Access: Open, with the exception of some documents that are closed in accordance with provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, or for reasons of personal privacy.
Copyright: No donation of copyright was received with this collection. Documents created by U.S. Government officials in the course of their duties are in the public domain. Otherwise, copyright interest in documents in this collection belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Stephanie M. Seim (2012); Jan Davis and David Clark (2017).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

John Coster-Mullen, a professional photographer, began research in the early 1990s on the two atomic bombs, "Little Boy" and "Fat Man," that were dropped on Japanese cities during World War II. He created replicas of the bombs, and prepared a manuscript detailing the history of their development and use against Japan. Published in 2004, his book is entitled Atom Bombs: The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man. Mr. Coster-Mullen has attended many reunions of the military personnel who carried out the bombing missions against Japan. He has served as an advisor to the National Atomic Museum and The Children of the Manhattan Project Preservation Association, and has worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which used his book as source material for a documentary on the atomic bombs.

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of John Coster-Mullen include copies of correspondence, two manuscript drafts, photographs, printed materials, and other items compiled by Coster-Mullen during the course of his research on "Little Boy and Fat Man: The First Atomic Bombs."

The correspondence in the collection is with persons Coster-Mullen contacted in the course of his research: mostly retired scientists or military personnel who were involved in the Manhattan Project or in the two atomic bombing missions against Japan. There is also some correspondence with representatives of various museums. Almost all of the correspondence dates from 1994 and 1995.

The photographs in the collection depict the Enola Gay-the aircraft that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima-and its crew members, as well as the bombs themselves. The printed materials include articles relating to nuclear weapons, the Enola Gay, and the controversy surrounding a planned exhibit on the atomic bombings at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. Most of this material also dates from 1994 and 1995. The research materials in the collection include copies of documents, printed items, and interview questions. Additional materials include speeches by Coster-Mullen from 2004-2007.

More information about the atomic bombs and related topics can be found at Truman Library in the Atomic Bomb Collection, in the papers of Lansing Lamont and Ben Nicks, and in the online collection, "Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb."

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.Series
1 SUBJECT FILE, 1945-2009
Correspondence, manuscript drafts, photographs, printed materials, research materials, and speeches. Arranged alphabetically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Audiovisual [2017 accretion]
  • Correspondence
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • "Little Boy and Fat Man: The First Atomic Bombs"-1995 Draft
  • "Little Boy and Fat Man: The First Atomic Bombs"-1996 Draft
  • Photographs
  • Printed Materials [Includes 2017 accretion]
  • Research Materials
  • Speeches [2017 accretion]

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]