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Item 209 - Marie Curie Catalog 560 (Jul 2019)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $500.00
Sold Price: $7,773.75 (includes buyer's premium)


Polish-born French physicist (1867-1934), she and her husband Pierre discovered two new elements, polonium and radium; for this work they received the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics. Curie was also the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. ALS in Polish, signed “Marie Sklodowska Curie,” one page, 5.25 x 6.5, 31 West Twelfth Street letterhead, May 12, 1921. Letter to "W. Jan Moszerenski" in Brooklyn, in full (translated): "As I was leaving the ship, I really had no opportunity to express my thanks to the Polish organizations for their so hearty welcome. It is very pleasing to me now to express my thanks and that of my daughters. The Polish manifestation caused me great pleasure and will leave me with pleasant memories." Impressively cloth-matted and framed with the original mailing envelope (addressed in Curie's hand), and hinged against a large 35 x 24.5 framed display featuring a portrait and three engraved plaques (one transcribing the letter, one discussing its historical context, and a nameplate). In fine condition, with a somewhat musty odor.

One day before writing this letter, on May 11, 1921, Curie arrived in New York City aboard the steamship Olympic to begin a tour of the United States. She was greeted by an overwhelming crowd of photographers, reporters, and spectators, which included a delegation of 300 ladies representing various Polish organizations in America. Waving red and white roses, they saluted the woman who honored Poland with the name of the first element she and her husband discovered—polonium.

The highlight of her trip came on May 20th, when President Warren G. Harding hosted her at the White House to present her with one gram of radium to continue her important studies—as the cost of the radioactive element escalated, Curie's research stalled. W. B. 'Missy' Meloney, editor of the women's magazine The Delineator, spearheaded a campaign to raise the $100,000 needed for a single gram. Meloney arranged for Curie's trip to America, hosting her and her two daughters on West Twelfth Street during their NYC stay. Curie was then feted around the nation, receiving honorary degrees from top universities and memberships to leading scientific societies. America's exuberance and the exhausting schedule wore her out, and she canceled the western part of her tour.

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