J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee
PO Box 220, Los Alamos, NM 87544


A collection of photographs was given to the JROMC by Katherine (Kitty) Oppenheimer in 1972, shortly before she began a round-the-world sailing adventure with Bob Serber. She never returned, dying of an embolism October 27, 1972 in Gorgas Hospital (Panama). There were two photo albums, one containing photographs of Oppenheimer, and another album containing photographs Kitty compiled before her marriage to Robert. There is no documentation explicitly transferring these photographs. However, accounts of the gift are in our files. Much of the following is excerpted from an inventory of this material compiled at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Archives where the collection is designated as Accession A-82-0001. The inventory includes information about each photograph.

This collection is the property of the JROMC. However, it has been housed at the LANL Archives for many years as attested in memoranda between the JROMC and LANL.

Access to the collection is strictly controlled and is not available to the public. LANL first produced copy negatives and later digitized all photographs. Requests for copies of photographs are honored by LANL, but only with JROMC approval. There is no charge for this service. Requests for copies of photographs to be sold commercially are denied. Requests for photographs that may be used in ways that negatively reflect on Oppenheimer may also be denied.

Requesters of copies of photographs are generally for publication or for use in a documentary film or other types of historical publications. The JROMC may ask how the photographs are to be used and that it be kept informed about the progress of such projects. The JROMC will also note that permission is given only for one-time use (showings of films per se are excluded), ask that JROMC be credited for the photographs, and suggest a contribution to JROMC, if desired, given that copies of these photographs will be supplied at no charge. The amount may be decided by the requester or we may suggest the amount be one-half of the cost that would be incurred if such services were obtained from a commercial firm.

Copies of correspondence with requesters, particularly those which involve permission for the use of photographs, should be retained in JROMC’s files which are maintained by the Archivist.

Many photographs in this collection are the property of other entities, and their use is restricted by copyright or for other reasons. Copies cannot be provided, nor may permission be granted to publish them. Examples: portraits by Alfred Eisenstaedt produced for Time, Inc., photographs taken at the Institute for Advanced Study when Oppenheimer was its director following his service at Los Alamos, and photographs originated by agencies such as the Associated Press. Requests for photographs in this category may be referred to their sources. Requests for photographs in the JROMC collection that were originated by LANL or request for other photographs held by LANL may be referred to LANL Historian.

The Archives of the Los Alamos Historical Society are another local source of photographs that may be of interest. The Society must charge for its services, copies of photographs, etc.,