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Perry M. Thomas collection

Identifier: 00227

Scope and Contents

The Perry M. Thomas collection contains a scrapbook about Operation Crossroads, a dvd of a newsreel about the tests on the Bikini Atoll, and the canvas military duffel bag the scrapbook was donated in. The Operation Crossroads scrapbook contains documents about the mission including location charts, diagrams of cameras in airplanes, data about the equipment, as photographs. There is also a history of the operation written by Perry Thomas. The photographs in the album include staff members, airplanes and cameras in the airplanes, photographic equipment, preparation for the tests, testing of the bombs, life on Kwajalein Base, and native Bikini atoll residents. There are also a small number of images of tests in Alamogordo, New Mexico as well as copies of published documents of eyewitness accounts of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings from the New Yorker Magazine.

The newsreel was possibly produced by the Army or Navy, and contains footage of the tests and preparations. Also included is the book Operation Crossroads: The Official Pictorial Record by Historian, Joint Task Force One published in 1946. The book contains photographs with caption of the preparations and tests of Operation Crossroads.

The electronic resources contains the files from the digitized film of the newsreel.


  • Creation: 1945 - 1946

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University or other copyright holders listed on material.

Biographical Note

Perry Marsden Thomas was born on December 27, 1905. He attended Kansas State University studying engineering for two years and while there participated in ROTC. He then transferred to the University of Wisconsin as a pre-med student. He was forced to stop attending college because of the Great Depression. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Thomas was activated into the Army and became a 1st lieutenant. He was later assigned to the Army Air Corps due to his knowledge of high speed motion photography and flying. Thomas was part of the team that photographed the nuclear tests at the White Sands Proving Ground near Roswell, New Mexico. He then became part of Operation Crossroads.

OPERATION CROSSROADS was a U.S. Army and Navy project in Bikini Atoll to test the effects of atomic blasts on the fleet. The first test, “A,” was conducted on July 1, 1946 to measure the effects of an atomic bomb detonated above ships moored in the lagoon. During the second test, “B,” on July 25, 1946, an atomic bomb was detonated under water.

Major Perry M. Thomas served as the Chief of the Photographic Engineering Section, Task Unit 1.52 assigned to photograph the tests from land and air. He supervised the installation and maintenance of motion picture equipment and electronic controls for unmanned cameras. During the actual tests, he also served as a photographer.


1 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Preservica Internal URL

Preservica Public URL

Custodial History

Scrapbook, film, and duffel bag donated by Kevin Thomas. Book donated by Ray Walsh.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Perry M. Thomas Collection
4 Published And Cataloged
S. Roberts
April 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US