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Atomic Veterans Records

Call Number: MS005

Scope and Contents

This collection primarily contains secondary material donated by Sandra Marlow. Includes copies of several government publications and reports related to atomic testing and specific testing operations; subject files and news and research articles on topics including health effects, waste disposal, and nuclear energy; legal files relating to lawsuits on recognition and compensation for atomic veterans; congressional legislation on recognition and compensation for atomic veterans; one case from a veteran seeking recognition and compensation; and drafts of chapters from Barton C. Hacker's book, Elements of Controversy. The collection also includes Marlow's correspondence with veterans and their families, as well as correspondence with elected officials. Marlow's research materials, including articles, reports, and photocopies of archival materials are included in series one. Also included are thirteen photographic slides, and ten photographs (predominantly depicting veterans and their families), fifteen audio cassettes with veteran interviews, and six documentary videos.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1942 -- 2006
  • Creation: 1940 -- 2013


Language of Materials



This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Biographical / Historical

Sandra Kane Marlow was born on December 18, 1932 in New York City to Nicholas and Rose Kane, both Jewish immigrants from Europe. She has one younger sister, Stephanie. A “military brat,” Kane moved with her family all over the United States while her father Colonel Kane was in the Air Force. He retired in 1955. Marlow graduated from Flushing High School, New York, in 1951 and graduated with a BA from Adelphi College, Garden City, New York, in 1955, as well as a MA in Art from U.C. Davis in 1965 and a Masters in Library Science (MLS) from University of Rhode Island in 1979.

Marlow married Harry C. Taylor and they had one daughter Alisa Taylor. From her second marriage with James Marlow she has a son, Benjamin Marlow. She worked as an art teacher in several schools in several states. After receiving her MLS, she worked as institutional librarian at Southeastern Correctional Center, an all-male prison in southeastern Massachusetts. Marlow fought for government acknowledgement and compensation of United States veterans that participated in atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons tests and nuclear cleanup from 1945 until the Nuclear Test Ban in 1962.

When her father became ill from cancer in 1977, she began to search for answers about his exposure to nuclear explosives and illness and those of other veterans. Before he retired in 1955, he witnessed nuclear weapon tests at Camp Desert Rock, Nevada. Prior to that, in 1948, Colonel Nicholas Kane had been assigned to one of the first radiological safety courses at Treasure Island, California. He and other military personnel studied contaminated ships from the 1946 Pacific tests, called Operation Crossroads. In her quest, Marlow discovered other veterans and their families who had been exposed during the Cold War and learned that many others had a difficult time accessing information regarding exposure to nuclear weapons. Three years after her father died of leukemia in 1977, Marlow became an active member of the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV) founded by Wanda and Orville Kelly. She served as its medical co-chair for many years.

Later, she joined the National Association of Radiation Survivors, another organization consisting of nuclear workers, uranium miners and civilians exposed to radiation. Living at that time in the Boston area, Marlow became their Academic Chair and communicated with members of the Federation of American Scientists as well as Doctors for Social Responsibility. With their help she helped organize a small group in the New England area called the Center for Atomic Radiation Studies (CARS). CARS members organized seminars at various universities and provided informational assistance to veterans and their families. They also helped publicize the problem of accessing information from the then Atomic Energy Commission and made the US public aware of the plight of “nuclear victims.”

Marlow has testified before the US Senate on behalf of veterans’ families. Along with members of NAAV and NARS, Marlow has persisted in obtaining government acknowledgement and compensation of American veterans that participated in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests and nuclear cleanup from 1945 until the Nuclear Test Ban in 1962. She has published articles in various journals including the Library Journal and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. She has worked with investigative reporters on nuclear issues since 1977, including the contaminated nuclear ships brought to Treasure Island in 1948. Several of these journalists have won Pulitzer Prizes.


2.08 Linear Feet (2 half letter size document boxes, 1 letter size document box, 1 oversize box )

2 Digital Object(s)


This collection is organized into two series: Subject Files and Reports; and Audiovisual Materials.

Processing Information

Because the importance of the topic, we decided to keep this collection of secondary material and provide detailed access to folders and publications. We decided to create one series, titled "Subject Files and Reports" because many subject files contained report material as well as correspondence, newsletters, pamphlets, and other material. In order to provide access to unique or significant publications and reports, individual items were removed from original subject file and given their own folder. These folders were labeled first with the title or subject of the original folder plus the title/author/publisher/year of the publication. For example, several publications were originally in a folder labeled "Energy." Each publication was given its own folder, for instance, "Energy: Uranium, Nonproliferation, and Energy Security; Steven J. Warnecke; The Atlantic Institute for International Affairs, Paper No. 37, 1979." Ambiguous or unclear folder titles were replaced with more descriptive labels.

For the second accession an attempt was made to continue the processing procedures used for the first accession. In many cases, unclear folder titles were replaced with more descriptive labels. A new series was also added for audiovisual materials.

Processing status

This collection is processed.

Repository Details

Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States