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Ferenc M. Szasz Papers

Identifier: MSS-552-BC

Scope and Content

The original collection contains records of F.B.I. investigations which were collected by Ferenc Szasz for research on chapter 6, "The Strange Tale of Klaus Fuchs" of Szasz's book entitled, British Scientists and the Manhattan Project : the Los Alamos Years. The collection represents the activities of one of the most notorious "atomic spies" at Los Alamos, New Mexico during the 1940s. Most of the collection is copies of declassified surveillance documents of the investigation of Julius Klaus Fuchs (1911- 1988). It appears that anyone who came into contact with Fuchs was eventually investigated by the F.B.I. The collection contains a variety of interdepartmental correspondence. Szasz suggests that the F.B.I. manhunts surrounding this case may have targeted as many as 1200 people. The investigation of Fuchs led to eight arrests. Fuchs's espionage resulted in significant material being passed on to the Russians, contributing to the configurations of the early nuclear age.

The dates in the inventory do not reflect the dates that the evidence was collected nor the times of the various surveillance. Rather, they are the dates the documents were received at various F.B.I. departments. Folder titles, created from Szasz's research notes, are not necessarily inclusive of all subjects covered in each folder. At the beginning of most folders is a list filled out by the F.B.I. for each document. It gives the serial number, date, type of communication, to whom, from whom, number of pages requested, actual number of pages released, and coding for exemptions used for pages not released. Interspersed among the material are "Federal Bureau of Investigation, FOIPA Deleted Page Information Sheets." The original collection was reviewed in March 2003. Some folder titles and dates have been changed from the original finding aid with new information added in some cases.

The first addition (1941-1991) contains research material Szasz used to write the essay "The Culture of Modern New Mexico, 1940-1970," in Richard Etulain's Contemporary New Mexico, 1940-1990. Photocopies of articles and newspaper clippings cover such topics as art, literature, science and technology, land management issues, tourism, festivals, Santa Fe and its Opera and galleries, sports, motion picture industry, religion, individual artists and writers like Georgia O'Keeffe, Peter Hurd, Allan Houser, Tony Hillerman, George Lopez, Mark Medoff, Oliver La Farge, Erna Fergusson, Fray Angelico Chavez, Pablita Velarde, and Lois Duncan. The 2007 addition also contains related material, including documents about making Los Alamos permanent.

The second addition contains pamphlets, articles, newspaper clippings, brochures, and maps used as research material for the book Great Mysteries of the West. Szasz edited the book and contributed the article: "Pre-Columbian Contact in the American West: The Theories and the Evidence." Among the fourteen scholars who wrote the essays reviewing popular legends of the North American West are Brian W. Dippie, John L. Kessell, David J. Weber, Michael Welsh, and M. Jane Young. The mysteries include sightings of sea creatures, Bigfoot, possible European or Asian Pre-Columbian contact with the Americas, unexplained phenomena like the Roswell Incident, legends of the West, and lost treasures and mines. Subjects covered in the research material includes anthropology, medicine wheels, dinosaurs, Atlantis, Mu, New Mexico mysteries, natural history, Pre-Columbian America, and Columbus. The articles date from 1894 to 1993. One article in the Louisiana folder is in French. This addition also contains correspondence and other materials related to the book, such as photocopies of photographs for Szasz's article, biographical sketches of the authors, outline of proposed articles, contracts, bibliography, and each essay (some first version some edited drafts).

The 2007 addition contains research material Szasz used to write the essay "Tony Hillerman and the turn-of-the-century American Southwest," for the book New Mexican Lives : Profiles and Historical Stories. Included with this material are articles about Hillerman, the mystery business, and mystery writers. This addition also includes two new series, World War II and Post War Nuclear Issues, as well as more material for the series Modern New Mexico and Mysteries of the West. The series, World War II, 1927-2005, covers Los Alamos, the development of the atomic bomb, and other related issues. Included are notes, transcripts and recordings of interviews with people involved with the Los Alamos Project such as Dr. Jack Hubbard, Dr. John Manley and Sir Ernest W. Titterton, as well as correspondence concerning the 1999 edition of James Edgar Hildebrand's book, Cannon Fodder, 1943-1945. The series, Post War Nuclear Issues, 1940-2005, contains material on post war nuclear projects, Atomic 50th anniversary, plutonium smuggling, spies, A bomb art, Robert Del Tredici, entering the Atomic Age, nuclear waste disposal, James L. Tuck, J. Robert Oppenheimer and articles about dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the results and debate.

The 2011 addition contains Los Alamos Laboratory published histories of the Manhattan Project and the later development of the laboratory and community of Los Alamos, United States management policies for nuclear projects, plan for the environmental impact of nuclear weapons production in the United States, a list of announced United States nuclear tests, and photographs from World War II.


  • 1894-2005
  • Majority of material found in 1942-1999


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Ferenc Szasz, (1940-2010) earned his doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1968 and shortly thereafter joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico as a Professor of History. His research and expertise are concentrated in American social history, religion in the modern West, 20th Century West and history of the Manhattan Project. His publications include British Scientists and the Manhattan Project : the Los Alamos Years (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1992); The Day the Sun Rose Twice : the Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984); Great Mysteries of the West (Golden: Fulcrum Publishers, 1993; and The Protestant Clergy in the Great Plains and Mountain West, 1865 - 1915 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988). Books published more recently include Scots in the North American West, 1790-1917, Larger than Life : New Mexico in the Twentieth Century and Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project : Insights into J. Robert Oppenheimer, "Father of the Atomic Bomb."


18 boxes (15.98 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder


The collection consists of records of F.B.I. investigations about convicted spy Klaus Fuchs, and research materials related to Szasz's writings such as, "The Culture of Modern New Mexico, 1940-1970," and "Tony Hillerman and the turn-of-the-century American Southwest" and for his book, Great Mysteries of the West The collection also contains research materials pertaining to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, the Trinity Site, World War II and postwar nuclear issues.


Organized into six series:
  1. Klaus Fuchs, 1930-1958
  2. Modern New Mexico, 1941-2004
  3. Mysteries of the West, 1894-1996
  4. Tony Hillerman, 1966-2001
  5. World War II, 1927-2005: subseries: Soldier's Experience, Trinity Site, British Mission, Japanese American Camps, D-Day (The Peppermint and Alsos Secret Missions) and J. Robert Oppenheimer
  6. Post War Nuclear Issues, 1940-2005: subseries: Post War Nuclear Issues, 1940-2005: subseries: Nuclear and General Atomic History, Harry S. Truman and the Election of 1948, Atomic 50th Year Anniversary, Projects Gnome and Gasbuggy, Gruinard Island, Scotland and Trinity Site, New Mexico, Nuclear Waste Disposal and Atomic West/James L. Tuck

Related Archival Material

Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Collection Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Ralph Carlisle Smith Collection of Papers on Los Alamos, N.M. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Original Audio cassettes and VHS tape are stored in B3.

Artists of the Rockies and the Golden West, spring 1980 issue transferred to CSWR stacks.

Various issues from the following periodicals transferred to CSWR stacks: Santa Fe Sun, High Country News, La Cronica de Nuevo Mexico, The Atom, Journal of the West, Crosswinds Weekly and Albuquerque Voice.

Processing Information

The original accession was processed under Series: Klaus Fuchs. Additions to collection were processed under Series: Modern New Mexico & Mysteries of the West (Added October 2003) and Series: Tony Hillerman, World War II and Post War Nuclear Issues (Added 2007) Addition from 2011 processed in May 2019.
Finding Aid of the Ferenc M. Szasz Papers, 1894-2005
Processed by T. Reinig (Reprocessed with addition)
©2002, 2003, 2007, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 552 BC::Ferenc M. Szasz Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss552bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131