Capturing Santa Fe History

Making scapulars at the USO in Santa Fe during World War II.

The photographer Robert H. Martin came to Santa Fe to document the history of the world’s first atomic bomb. In the process he ended up capturing a time in the capitol city that has vanished along with the people of that era. When WWII began Robert H. Martin joined the army and became the photographer for the Zenith Radio Corporation. Zenith was one of the major defense contractors for the government. After the war Martin became the official photographer of this nation’s top-secret nuclear projects at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Chicago native married Manuelita Ortiz y Pino, a member of one of New Mexico’s most prominent Hispanic families. While working at LANL he spent decades documenting Santa Fe culture and history.

Cancer Survivor

Robert H. Martin retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1970s after he came down with cancer from the radiation that he had been exposed to during his work there. Martin was one of the longest survivors of radiation-exposed cancer. He died in Santa Fe in 2004 at the age of 83.

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