Radium City, U.S.A.

In the spring of 1921, the preeminent French physicist Marie Curie (1867-1934) traveled from her home in Paris to the United States where, on Friday, May 20, she attended a White House ceremony during which President Warren G. Harding presented her with a key symbolizing a gift of one gram of radium from the women of America. Costing one hundred thousand dollars, this tiny amount of radium would...
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Elizabeth Langstroth Drexel Smith (1855-1890) and Louise Bouvier Drexel Morrell (1863-1945)

When Francis Martin Drexel (1792–1863) arrived in Philadelphia from the Austrian territory of Tyrol in 1817, he might have established a family of artisans—he was an accomplished artist and musician. Instead, his interest in finance, coupled with his business savvy, earned him a niche as patriarch of one of the wealthiest, most philanthropic families in the United States. Drexel’s sons, Francis...
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Philadelphia’s Sainted Katharine Drexel: “Mother and Servant of the Indian and Negro Races”

On Thursday morning, January 27, 1887, the Drexel sisters of Philadelphia attended a private mass conducted by Pope Leo XIII (1810–1903) in Rome’s fabled Vatican. As members of one of the wealthiest and most devout Catholic families in the United States, the three young women — Elizabeth, age 31, Katharine, age 28, and Louise, age 23 — were also given a rare audience with the pontiff. The...
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