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Interview with Joseph H. Heller

Heller, Joseph H. (2011) Interview with Joseph H. Heller. [Oral History]

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Joseph H. Heller recounts his childhood recollections of Richard P. Feynman, whom he refers to as Richy, during the 1920s and up to 1935 in Far Rockaway, New York, and then the resumption of contact between the two in Los Angeles in the 1950s. Heller's older brother, Elmer, was a close friend of Feynman's; Feynman frequently spent time with the Heller brothers in their home. The reminiscences include Feynman's first wife, Arline Greenbaum, and the beginnings of her relationship to Richard Feynman. Heller recounts teaching Arline to row and Richard to play trap drums. He traces parallels in the paths of his brother and Feynman, both of whom he notes worked during World War II at Palmer Physical Laboratory in Princeton on the Manhattan Project and then subsequently taught at Cornell. He touches on the later brief relationship of Elmer Heller to Feynman in Los Angeles in the 1950s; relations of both brothers with Feynman tail off after Feynman's marriage to Gweneth Howarth [1960]. Discussion of some details surrounding illness and death of Arline Greenbaum [died 1945]. Heller recalls others from Far Rockaway High School social group: Harold Gast, David Leff, Buzzy Mann, Robert Stappler. Interview concludes with further anecdotes about childhood and high school years; Feynman's childhood names of Richy versus Ritty; and reference to a set of letters and documents given by Heller to the Caltech Archives from the papers of his deceased brother relating to Feynman.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Feynman, Richard P. (Richard Phillips), 1918-1988; Greenbaum, Arline; physics
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Heller_J
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Official Citation:Heller, Joseph H. Interview by Shelley Erwin. Laguna Woods, California, May 5, 2010. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Physics
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ID Code:184
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:30 Jun 2011
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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