Ask a Librarian

A hematologist in Hiroshima

While in Japan in the early 1950s, William C. Moloney, a hematologist, came face to face with the effects of nuclear weapon radiation on the civilian population. In his journal from that time, he talks about a 9-year-old boy who reminds him of his own son. The boy is scarred by radiation, dying from leukemia and Dr. Moloney can not save him. “He had the most infectious smile,” he writes on page 100 of his journal. “I could have cried … and would have if I did not get out of the room after seeing him … I felt so frustrated and impotent.”
The Papers of William Moloney: Manuscript Collection No. 73 in HAM-TMC Library’s Historical Research Center (HRC) are significant because the documents give a first-hand and personal account of the work of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. The Papers show how two peoples who had been sworn enemies worked together to better understand the effects of radiation and themselves.
Moloney is often serious and sometimes resigned and frustrated by his experiences in studying the effects of the atomic bombs on the survivors and their children. He is often perplexed by the Japanese cultural, but he expresses a genuine love and respect for the Japanese people with whom he interacts.