July 22, 2024

This is a hand receipt unlike any other. … Imagine instead of signing for an office key or a computer, … you’ve just taken responsibility for the first atomic weapon.

Military historian Con Crane tells the story behind an unusual hand receipt, showing the transfer of responsibility of the components of the ‘Little Boy’ atomic weapon to Thomas Ferrell, Deputy Director of the Manhattan Project. Mr. Ferrell kept the receipt in his wallet for the rest of his life, and it eventually came into possession of the Army Heritage and Education Center.

A fascinating story of bureaucracy at work! War Room podcast editor Jacqueline E. Whitt moderates.



You can also download a copy of the podcast here.

Below is a graphic of the hand-receipt.


Con Crane is a military historian with the Army Heritage and Education Center and associated editor of War Room. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. The views expressed in the podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense.

Photo: Photograph of a mock-up of the Little Boy nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945. 

Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives.

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2 thoughts on “RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH

    1. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The post is now corrected and the hand-receipt is visible — you can click on it to get a high-resolution view.

      Regards, Tom Galvin

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