Dorothy S. Childs

Age 88: Office manager worked with Manhattan Project's team of scientists.


Dorothy S. Childs, a former office manager and longtime Towson homemaker, died of pneumonia Sunday at St. Joseph Medical Center. She was 88.

Dorothy Sands was born in Baltimore and raised in Cedarcroft. She was a 1936 graduate of Western High School and attended the University of Maryland in College Park.

During the late 1930s, she worked in the payroll department of the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River and then took a job in 1940 working with a team of scientists on the Manhattan Project, which led to the creation of the atomic bomb.

"She was selected to hand-deliver a highly classified document to Gen. Leslie Groves, who headed the Manhattan Project. It was a nuclear equation that had been developed at Hopkins," said Victoria W. Childs, a daughter-in-law. "She would not turn over the envelope until she personally presented [it] to General Groves. Those were her orders, and it wasn't until years later that she learned the contents of the envelope."

From 1946 until 1951, she was office manager of William H. Sands & Co., a family-owned contracting company in Towson.

Mrs. Childs was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson for 56 years and volunteered for 38 years in its thrift shop. She also volunteered for many years in the library at St. Paul's School.

Mrs. Childs enjoyed spending time at a summer home in Bayside Beach near Pasadena. In 1937, she and her family came to the aid of survivors of the City of Baltimore, which had caught fire and burned to the waterline off Seven Foot Knoll.

She compiled a 64-page scrapbook devoted to the disaster, in which two people were killed, family members said.

Mrs. Childs was an avid bridge player and was a member of the Three Arts Club of Homeland, the St. Andrews Society and the Inner Wheel of Towson.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at her church, 120 Allegheny Ave.

Survivors include her husband of 56 years, William F. Childs III; two sons, Harvey S. Childs of Cockeysville and William F. Childs IV of Friendship; and two granddaughters.

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