Quinta Maggia McDonald

Radium Girls, Ghost Girls
Birth Name:
Quinta Maggia
Birth Date:
February 14, 1900
Birth Place:
Orange, New Jersey
Death Date:
December 7, 1929
Place of Death:
Memorial Hospital, Manhattan, New York
Cause of Death:
Radium sarcoma, industrial poisoning
Cemetery Name:
Rosedale Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
The Odd and the Interesting
Quinta Maggia McDonald 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. Quinta was recruited to work at the United States Radium Corporation in Orange, New Jersey as a dial-painter. Like her sisters she would end up paying the price. 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. After Amelia's death, Quinta initially went to the doctor complaining of dental pain where her teeth began to just drop out of her mouth. Unlike her sister before her, she received a diagnoses of radium poisoning and was told there was no cure. Sometime later she noticed pain in her ankles, legs and hips and was put into plaster casts to keep her immobile in the chance this might bring some relieve. Upon her final hospitalization the doctors noticed a large sarcoma on her leg - the kind of bone tumor that killed a fellow Radium Girl a year before. She eventually lapsed into a coma and died at the age of 29 leaving behind two young children.

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.

Quinta’s final gift to her friends, family and doctor – she allowed a full autopsy after her death.

The home where Quinta lived during her illness 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 Rosedale Cemetery in Montclair New Jersey

Grave Location:

Single Section 9, Row 7, Grave 7

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery stay to the left and drive past the new office and parking lot. Continue to follow the white line in the road towards the left until you cross over a short bridge to the old section. Take the first left and drive straight ahead and park when the road makes a sharp right. On your left is Section 9. Walk to the very corner of the property at Hayward Street and Thomas Blvd. Now walking along the fence line bordering Thomas Blvd count 7 rows and 7 graves in and you will find the final resting place of Radium Girl Quinta Maggia McDonald on a slightly raised concrete slab.

Grave Location GPS

40.78552508, -74.22057939



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