Eve Curie and the “Magic of Radium”

July 24, 2009

Over the years Smith Clubs have been creative in their ways of raising funds to support various scholarship programs and/or annual campaign drives of the College.  On January 22, 1940, the Philadelphia Smith Club sponsored a lecture by Eve Curie, the daughter of Nobel Prize winner, Madame Marie Curie, who was awarded an honorary degree at Smith College in 1921.

Program of Curie talk sponsored by the Philadelphia Smith Club, January 1940

Program of Curie talk sponsored by the Philadelphia Smith Club, January 1940

The lecture by Eve Curie was held at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.  Dr. George E. Pfahler, a pioneer in radiology, and a Professor at the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania,  introduced her.  According to the minutes of the Club, the idea to ask Curie to speak came during a discussion of money-making ventures.  Emma LaBarre Miller, class of 1914 (Mrs. James Jaminson Waygood) introduced the idea of Eve Curie speaking.   A year’s worth of planning and selling tickets to the event culminated in her talk “the Magic of Radium” to a sell-out crowd.

Over 80 couples and singles contributed towards the event as “Patrons and Patronesses”.  Some of Philadelphia’s leading names turned out for the event including, Biddles, Chews, duPonts, Strawbridges, VanDusens, and luminaries in the world of health also supported the program.  The goal of ‘selling out the Academy’ was completed by a team of  27 Philadelphia Smith Club women.  Through their efforts the Philadelphia Smith Club cleared over $1,500 for the event.  The money went to the Club’s Scholarship Fund to support 2 students from the Philadelphia area attending Smith.