ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Ed Westcott, a Singular Eye at the Dawn of the Atomic Age, Dies at 97

By April 11, 2019 Current News


Image: US Department of Energy Oak Ridge

Editor’s Note: Ed Westcott was a 2018 Presidential Medal of Freedom nominee and an ASMP Honorary Member. His son, Jim Westcott, is an ASMP Professional Member based in Hermitage, Tennessee.

Cross-posted from

[by Richard Sandomir]

Ed Westcott, a photographer who documented life in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the secret city where uranium was enriched as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the atom bomb during World War II, died on March 29 at his daughter’s home in Oak Ridge, where he also still lived. He was 97.

His daughter, Emily Hunnicutt, confirmed his death. Mr. Westcott had a stroke in 2005 that limited his ability to speak.

Not then on any maps, Oak Ridge during the war was a huge company town of  59,000 acres about 25 miles east of Knoxville. Ringed by barbed wire, it had factories dedicated to bomb production, homes for tens of thousands of workers and their families, a 300-mile network of roads, and schools, stores, restaurants, theaters, parks and a library. Those who left town were searched for firearms on their return. People who talked openly about their classified work faced fines or prison.

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Featured Image: US Department of Energy Oak Ridge

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