Amelia Maggia

Radium Girl, Ghost Girls
Birth Name:
Amelia Maggia
Birth Date:
December 21, 1896
Birth Place:
386 Highland Ave, Orange, New Jersey
Death Date:
September 12, 1922
Place of Death:
Orange, New Jersey
Cause of Death:
Radium sarcoma, industrial poisoning
Cemetery Name:
Rosedale Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
The Odd and the Interesting
Amelia ‘Mollie’ Maggia was the middle child of seven Maggia sisters; listed in order of age: Louise, Clara, Albina, Mollie, Quinta, Irma and Josephine. Children of Italian immigrants, Albina, Mollie, Quinta and Irma all worked in the radium-dial factory. Mollie was an exceptional dial-painter – but paid the price. She was the first dial-painter to die in September 1922. The initial effects of radium seemed harmless, and the substance was popular amongst the younger girls in the factory. They would go home from a day of painting with their clothes glowing from the radium exposure. Some would even paint the buttons on their dresses or their nails, but the joy of the radium glow was short lived. Long-term radiation sickness symptoms soon became present among many of the women who worked with radium paint. Common issues included bone cancer, anemia, lesions, and sores. These problems were exhibited in Amelia Maggia, the first dial painter to die from radiation sickness. Amelia worked in the factory for almost a decade and was known to be a diligent employee. Amelia had initially gone to the doctor complaining of a toothache and got an extraction. However, the ache in her jaw continued. During a routine exam, when the doctor gently probed here jaw, her jawbone literally fell out of her mouth into his hands. Upon closer examination he found extensive deterioration of her lower jaw bone and tissue damage from the radiation. Most of her jaw was removed and she developed severe anemia and lesions with massive infections. Amelia passed away in September of 1922 at the age of 25 when the radiation caused a jugular vein to rupture and she bled to death in front of her family. Her death was wrongly attributed to syphilis.

Not-So-Fun Facts:

The Radium Girls ingested radioactive radium through the special paint formula they used to paint the dials on clocks, watches, aircraft instruments and other applications. By using a technique known as “lip – dip – paint” they would put the brush on their lips after each application to tighten the brush hairs, ingesting the paint hundreds of times a day for years.

Ironically, the inventor of radium dial paint, Dr Sabin Arnold von Sochocky, died in November 1928, becoming the 16th known victim of poisoning by radium dial paint. He had gotten sick from radium in his hands, not the jaw, but the circumstances of his death helped the Radium Girls in court.

The home where Mollie Maggia passed away is still standing and located at 386 Highland Ave, Orange, NJ 07050. The home is currently a multi family home that contains 2,446 square feet and was built in 1873.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Rosedale Cemetery

408 Orange Road

Montclair, New Jersey, 07042


North America


Cemetery Map of Rosedale Cemetery in Montclair New Jersey

Grave Location:

Single Section 8, Row 6, Grave 71

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery take the first right and drive past the new office building and parking. Follow the white line to the left, then right and stop at the intersection just before you go over the bridge to the old section. On your right along the property line is a narrow section of graves that extends all the way to the maintenance shed. In the exact middle of this section where the road bends slightly into the section on the second row is the final resting place of Radium Girl Amelia “Mollie” Maggia. Her grave lines up with the street on the other side of the fence.

Grave Location GPS

40.78654692449, -74.2247069697292



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