Mrs. Madigan’s Uranium Mine

Found in the Life Magazine photo archives, a strange collection of photos from 1955 without individual captions, labeled only as “Mrs. Madigan’s Uranium Mine”. Whomever Mrs. Madigan was, she seems to have faded into obscurity in the intervening decades; were it nor for this photo, we might not even be able to figure out who in these pictures is Mrs. Madigan!

Two of the more interesting photos, below.

That’s Mrs. Madigan, our erstwhile uranium miner, in the middle; who the other two women are, I haven’t a clue. The writing on the door behind them identifies the location as a “Department of Mines” office, but where, I have no idea. Anyone have access to a collection of old Life magazines?

Mrs. Madigan again, with a geiger counter of some variety and a balding gentleman who missed his calling playing psychopathic killers in low-budget Hollywood movies. I bet he had a really good maniacal laugh…

You can see more of these erstwhile uranium miners by clicking here, and then clicking on the various “related images”.

And, seriously, if anyone knows how this old lady wound up being a uranium miner, or what became of her little 1950s enterprise, share with the class!

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on July 21st, 2009| 4 Comments »

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  1. On 7/22/2009 at 5:12 pm Jfraser Said:

    Well, one of the license plates on a car in the series is Ohio, but I found the issue this is in: July 25, 1955. Searching online, I found these quotes from someone selling these issues:

    Life’s uranium story and Mrs. Madigan’s luck, including surveyor Hubert Elkington (see also May 23, 1955).

    From May 23, 1955:
    So, you want to hunt uranium : color photos, great article including Charlie Steen’s Mi Vida mine (see also July 25, 1955).

    Here’s an article on the Mi Vida mine:

    and Charlie Steen:

    Seems that there was a uranium rush in the four corners area of the US, and this article was probably capitalizing on that.

  2. On 7/22/2009 at 5:25 pm Nemo Said:

    Huh, who knew! Thanks, Jfraser.

  3. On 11/25/2013 at 1:24 am michael moore Said:

    The man with the Geiger counter in the photograph was my uncle, Reginald Elkington of Plevna Ontario.
    His father, John St. Hubert Curtis Elkington (my grandfather) actually discovered the uranium mine.
    Mrs Madigan was a favourite characterisation of his – where he got it from I have no idea….but. there was not, actually a Mrs Madigan.

  4. On 1/8/2014 at 4:32 pm Helen O'Neill Said:

    This is all fascinating & I’m keen to contact Michael Moore (who commented above) about it.

    I’m a writer looking into a related subject. If Michael could contact me on that would be great.

    Many thanks