Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Sarah Wright ()
Communications and External Relations


Scraps of ORNL history now downtown

History room volunteers (from left) Bill Yee, Charles Congdon, Communications and External Relations’ Debbie Dickerson and Steve Stow present the scrapbook to Kathy McNeilly, director of the Oak Ridge Public Library.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 28, 2008 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory's history room recently donated a scrapbook from the lab's earliest days to the Oak Ridge Public Library.

Pearl Olsen, who worked at ORNL in the 1940s and later moved to Argonne National Laboratory, collected the trove of flyers and newspaper articles. Later finding her old scrapbook, Olsen realized that the clippings represented an important historical record of social and political events in and around Oak Ridge as the town was being built, and she sent it back to ORNL for safekeeping.

The scrapbook eventually made its way into the hands of ORNL's history room volunteers, accompanied only by a business card. When they called Olsen they were surprised to find that she was still working at Argonne.

And she remembered collecting the flyers and going to the dances.

She also still felt that the scrapbook belonged in Oak Ridge. The volunteers agreed, but they also thought that the memorabilia should be available to more than just the people at ORNL. Recently the scrapbook was delivered to the city library, where it is available to the general public.

ORNL-specific items, including some about the Manhattan Project, remain in the ORNL History Room under the care of retiree volunteers Charles Congdon, Bill Yee and Steve Stow.