Answers by Pollyanna Eyler, BYU Radium Girls dramaturg
Page 10 – Radium Shopping List
The discovery of Radium in 1898 soon led to scientific advances in medicine. Radium was proven to reduce cancerous tumors and therefore considered not only safe, but healthy! Industry ingeniously jumped on the bandwagon promoting products across the spectrum, such as “Radium Hand Cleaner – takes off everything but the skin.” If you guessed that all of the products on the Radium Shopping List could be found with added radium, you’re correct!
Products with added radium.
- Bottled Water, “Radithor”
- Radium Brand Creamy Butter
- Schokolade, Radium German Chocolate
- Degnen’s Radio-Active Heating Pad
- Doramad Radioactive Toothpaste
- Crème Activa Face Cream
- Seattle Radium Cleanser and Pesticide
- Silhouette Radiante Girdle or Corset
- Luminous Military Wristwatch
But wait there’s more …
- acne cream
- allergy medication
- anti-aging products
- boot polish
- chicken feed
- eye drops
- face mask mud cream
- freckle remover
- hair permanent solution
- hand cleaner
- long underwear
- mud mask
- radium spa retreats
- science lab kit for kids
- urethra rod
- water cooler
What disturbs you more: the fact that these products from the past were sold to the public, or wondering what products in the present, sold to the public, we’ll later learn are unhealthy and/or deadly?
Products with added radium – sources:
Bennett, James. “Radioactive Cosmetics.” Cosmetics and Skin. Last modified July 26, 2016.
Crezo, Adrienne. “These Everyday Items Were Dosed With Radium Until We Discovered It Was Toxic.” Business Insider. October 10, 2012.
Miklós, Vincze. “Seriously Scary Radioactive Products From The 20th Century.” io9.com. May 5, 2013.
Orci, Taylor. “How We Realized Putting Radium in Everything was Not the Answer.” The Atlantic. March 7, 2013.
Page 12 – It’s All Relative With FamilySearch.com
The play Radium Girls is based on real people. Which Radium Girls are you related to? You may be surprised to learn that not only am I related to the Radium Girl, Grace Fryer and to the actress playing her role, Mikah Vaclaw; but I am also related to you! We are all related to each other, the question then becomes, who is our common ancestor? Websites such as FamilySearch.org are able to help you figure out how you are related by combing through common ancestors on your respective family trees.
Personal ID Number (PID#) & Names of People from Radium Girl Incident
|Full Name of Character|
|L7D1-HD8||Grace Fryer, Radium Girl|
|LB55-8SR||Raymond Hirst Berry, Radium Girls Attorney|
|LBRC-TBT||Katherine Glisan Tiffany Wiley, NJ Consumer’s League|
|LC5H-V1Z||Maria Salomea Skłodowska, aka “Dr. Marie Curie”|
|KZ7G-BL9||Dr. Cecil Kent Drinker, Harvard Scientist|
|LB5Q-R57||Frederick Bonner Flinn, PhD, Scientist for US Radium Corp|
|M5KR-BLY||US Federal Judge William Clark, aka “Court”|
|KZBP-GB2||Walter Lippmann, aka “Reporter” for Radium Girls|
|LBYF-Z95||William John Aloysius Bailey, “Radithor” Inventor|
|LQ56-T3Z||Bernarr Adolphus Macfadden, aka “Venecine Salesman”|
Walter Lippmann – PID# KZBP-GB2
the editor of the New York World newspaper wrote in support of the Radium Girls calling the trial a “damnable travesty of justice… The women are dying. If ever a case called for prompt adjudication, it is the case of five crippled women … This is a heartless proceeding. It is unmanly, unjust and cruel. This is a case which calls not for fine-spun litigation but for simple, quick, direct justice.”
How to use a PID# to “View Your Relationship”
Log into Family Search.org
- Under the “Family Tree” tab click “Find” tab
- Click on “Find by ID” tab
- Enter PID# & click “Find” tab
- Click on their name, then “PERSON” tab
[lower middle of pop-up]
- Click “View My Relationship” tab
[upper right of page]
Page 14 – Match Possible Witnesses
If the Radium Girl case ever goes to court, who can the Defendant, U.S. Radium Corp rely on as possible witnesses? What about the Plaintiff, Radium Girls?
Defendant: U.S. Radium Corp
Dr. Von Sochocky – Founder and Inventor
In the play, he is willing to switch sides and testify on behalf of the Radium Girls.
NOTE: Although, if you look up Dr. Sabin Arnold Von Sochocky (1883-1928), founder and inventor of radium tainted Luminous Paint, you may also make a surprising discovery. In reality, when Dr. Von Sochocky died of radium poisoning, newspapers quoted his last words as continuing to deny the danger of his invention.
Arthur Roeder, President U. S. Radium Corp
Like the actual president, Arthur Roeder (1884-) sided firmly with the U.S. Radium Corp. As in the play, right after the settlement, Roeder was let go at U.S. Radium Corp. Roeder, a creature of habit, became an executive and president of Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, only to be let-go in the face of labor disputes within a year of being named president of the corporation.
C. B. “Charlie” Lee, Vice President
Supportive of the company, not necessarily its president. C.B. Lee assumes the vacant seat left by Roeder as the new President of U.S. Radium Corp. Public records of U.S. Radium Corp are not forthcoming regarding presidential succession. However, you can follow the history of their company name changes, up to their current name, Safety Light Corporation, on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission website.
Mrs. Alma Macneil, Supervisor
Mrs. Macneil also pledges allegiance to U.S. Radium Corp. Although records of supervisors at U.S. Radium Corp are not available, there are records that state U.S. Radium Corp, who used various aliases, disguised themselves as “Radium Dial Company” of Ottawa, Illinois. When workers of the Radium Dial Company heard about the Radium Girls settlement in the news, they threatened to quit over workers health and safety issues. The Radium Dial Company assured their workers by issuing statements saying that the girls in the New Jersey radium dial painting factory contracted of a viral infection not associated with radium dial painting.
Edward Markley, Attorney
Mr. Markley also aligns himself with the insidious practices of U.S. Radium Corp. There were many attorneys who have supported US Radium Corp through the ages. After this settlement, came several other suits, yet only one made it to court. The judge ruled against a widower of a former employee, stating that the two-year statute of limitations had passed. The company issued a letter to their stockholders declaring their “freedom” from past settlements and how they were looking forward to a “bright” future of profits.
Dr. Frederick Flinn, an Industrial Hygienist of Columbia University – Of the Defendants U.S. Radium Corp could call on from the Possible Witnesses list, this charlatan was revealed to be a faithful employee on the U.S. Radium payroll. He also admitted to examining the girls using a false pretense as a medical professional, though he, like the company, was never charged.
Plaintiff: Radium Girls
Grace Fryer, Radium Girl
Kathryn Schaub, Radium Girl
Irene Rudolf, Radium Girl
In the play Radium Girls, Irene Rudolf dies before the trial, yet all the girls in the suit stayed the course and went to the settlement combined in their commitment against U.S. Radium Corp. Similarly, in real life, with only slight spelling variations, Irene Rudolph (1902-1923), orphaned in adolescence, went to live with her cousin, Katherine Schaub (1902-1933). Both girls worked at the factory, U.S. Radium Corp. Irene died of radiation poisoning before Katherine and Grace Fryer (1899-1933) sued U.S. Radium Corp.
Raymond Berry, Attorney
stayed true to the Radium Girls and continued to practice law; he was so well loved by his community, that they named a community pool after him.
Miss Katherine Wiley of the New Jersey Consumer’s League
As is noted in the match game example, once she heard of the Radium Girls’ plight, she became a strong spokeswoman, speaking out on their behalf and rallying necessary public sympathy and peer pressure to get U.S. Radium Corp to make a public settlement.
Dr. Marie Curie, Discovered Radium – The famous scientist was at first in denial, as was the rest of the medical community, that radium, which decreased tumor sizes, could possibly be dangerous or lethal to humans. However, she realized too late the potency of radium. “I would be only too happy to give any aid that I could,” she said, adding, “There is absolutely no means of destroying the substance once it enters the human body.” Dr. Curie also died from her work with radium poisoning.
Dr. Harrison Martland, Medical Examiner
in the play, Dr. Martland is the Medical Examiner who double checks the death of the first girl, Amalia. As in real life, the ME exhumed the radioactive body and discovered that she didn’t die of syphilis, as was listed on the death certificate, but of the effects of radium. Her remains and those of the other Radium Girls will remain radioactive for over 1,600 years!
Dr. Joseph Knef, D.D.S.
in the play he attends to the girls, then unsuccessfully tries to strike a deal with U.S. Radium Corp, then vows to testify against the company. NOTE: In reality, local dentists and doctors were known to have taken money to lie or hide results from employees of U.S. Radium Corp. However, Dr Knef, although a dentist who treated the Radium Girls, is not listed as one of them.
Dr. Cecil Drinker, Industrial Hygienist – After he and his wife, Katherine, wrote a report that concluded radioactive material was all over the workplace, including in the undergarments of the workers, and that radium was affecting the health of the employees, U.S. Radium Corp actually doctored their report and submitted it to government authorities and medical journals. A colleague, Alice Hamilton (NJCL President), contacted them to let them know their report had been mis-used. Katherine then pressured Cecil to resubmit the original report to the NJCL and Medical Journals, risking a lawsuit from U.S. Radium Corp. The company sued, but the case was eventually dropped.
Industrial Hygienists of Harvard Medical School,
Dr Cecil Kent Drinker, and his wife, Dr. Katherine Livingston Rotan Drinker
Match Possible Witnesses Game Card
Match Possible Witnesses Sources:
Gregory, D.W. Radium Girls. Dramatic Publishing. 2003.
DeVille, Kenneth A. and Mark E. Steiner. “The New Jersey Radium Dial Workers and the Dynamics of Occupational Disease Litigation in the Early Twentieth Century.” Missouri Law Review. 1997.