Olde Bridgewater Historical Society Lecture- The Radium Girls

Shellie Karol-Chik, Olde Bridgewater Historical Society president, presents this lecture. Beginning in 1916, girls as young as 11 were hired to paint watch faces and aircraft dials for World War I airplanes with glow-in-the-dark paint. Unknowingly, the girls were subjected regularly to the radioactive radium contained in the paint they used and within years would become victims to its lethal effects. Dying young, these women would leave behind more than their young children and widowed husbands. They would leave an enduring legacy and save thousands, if not millions, of lives. The program focuses on the “radium craze” of the early 1900s, the struggle of these women to be recognized as victims of industrial poisoning and the companies’ attempts to discredit them.
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