Hoover Institution Acquires The Collection Of Warren Heckrotte, Nuclear Weapons And Disarmament Expert

Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Black and white photo of Warren Heckrotte

Black and white photo of Warren HeckrotteThe Hoover Institution Library & Archives has acquired the collection of nuclear weapons and disarmament expert, Warren Heckrotte. The Warren Heckrotte papers consist of notes, reports, photographs, and magnetic tape related to Soviet-American negotiations over nuclear disarmament. The bulk of the material dates from the early 1960s during Heckrotte’s work with the Atomic Energy Commission.

Warren Heckrotte (1922-2019) was born in Ohio on December 5, 1922. He received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley and joined the senior staff at the University of California Radiation Laboratory (now known as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California). Over the next four decades, he worked on nuclear weapon issues at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, California).

As a nuclear expert, he was recruited to negotiate nuclear arms reduction under five different administrations, from Kennedy to Clinton. Although the Atomic Energy Commission wanted to hire him, Heckrotte insisted on keeping his independence by remaining affiliated with a research institute rather than a government agency. This apolitical stance allowed him to be the only delegation member to work on arms reductions through many different administrations. His responsibilities included writing treaty text and analyzing vetting systems for nuclear verification.

Heckrotte was an avid map collector and wrote about maps in various journals and catalogs.  He donated a significant map collection to the Rumsey Center at Stanford University. Heckrotte was predeceased by his ex-wife, Marjorie Anderson; his two daughters, Peggy and Nancy; and his long-term partner, Maggie Gee who was a fellow physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and who flew with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots in WWII, receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

The collection is currently undergoing preservation processing. Future access to this collection will be available in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives reading room. Please contact hoover-library-archives [at] stanford.edu for information concerning access.

 

Jean McElwee Cannon

Jean McElwee Cannon

Curator for North American Collections

Jean M. Cannon is Curator for North American Collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.