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Making Marie CurieIntellectual Property and Celebrity Culture in an Age of Information$
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Eva Hemmungs Wirtén

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226235844

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226235981.001.0001

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The Gift(s) That Kept on Giving

The Gift(s) That Kept on Giving

Circulating Radium and Curie

(p.75) 3 The Gift(s) That Kept on Giving
Making Marie Curie

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén

University of Chicago Press

In 1921, Marie Curie made a highly publicized trip to the United States, where she had gone to receive a gram of radium from the hands of President Harding. The gift was in fact the result of a popular subscription scheme orchestrated by Missy Brown Meloney, indefatigable editor of The Delineator, who had managed to convince the women of America to collect $100.000 on Curie’s behalf. Twenty years after the Curies’ ceded radium to others by abstaining from patenting their discovery and the processes of its extraction, the women of America collectively reciprocated by giving an equally disinterested return gift to Marie Curie. The correspondence between Meloney and Curie plays an important role in this chapter, which focuses both on the repercussions of the gifting and the substantial funds Curie received as part of this 1921 trip, and also consider how the trip sets in motion an intensification of Curie’s own production of commodities, particularly print commodities.

Keywords:   Missy Brown Meloney, gifting, Pierre Curie, Autobiographical Notes, Marie Curie Radium Fund, deed, commodities, radium

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