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History at the Department of Energy

The Department of Energy has one of the richest and most diverse histories in the Federal Government. Although only in existence since 1977, the Department traces its lineage to the Manhattan Project effort to develop the atomic bomb during World War II and to the various energy-related programs that previously had been dispersed throughout various Federal agencies.

The Department has made available to researchers and the general public a rich variety of materials and information:

  • Historical Resources, including published and online histories of the Department and its predecessor agencies and information on records, exhibits, museums, and tours available online and at various locations both within and outside the Department. Major publications and websites can be found on the History Publications page.
  • A detailed Timeline of the Department and its predecessor agencies that includes links to reports, speeches, press releases, and other documentation.
  • All things Manhattan Project, including histories, websites, a listing of the Manhattan Project Signature Facilities, and background on the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park. In July 2013, the Department launched The Manhattan Project: Resources, a website designed to disseminate information and documentation on the Manhattan Project to a broad audience including scholars, students, and the general public. The Manhattan Project: Resources consists of two parts: 1) The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History, a website history designed to provide an informative, easy to read and navigate, comprehensive overview of the Manhattan Project, and 2) the Manhattan District History, a multi-volume classified history commissioned by General Leslie Groves at the end of the war that assembled a vast amount of information in a systematic, readily available form and included extensive annotations, statistical tables, charts, engineering drawings, maps, and photographs. All thirty-six volumes of the Manhattan District History are being made available full-text online.
  • An Assessment of Historic Properties and Preservation Activities at the U.S. Department of Energy, 2014, a report produced triennially by the Department in response to requirements of Executive Order 13287, Preserve America.

Questions about the history of the Department of Energy or one of its predecessor agencies should be directed to the Office of History and Heritage Resources at HistoryDivision@hq.doe.gov.