Case argued by Raymond H. Berry featured in new book by British author

Some people remember Raymond H. Berry. More and more, lots of people don’t. People who moved here or were born after 1970, may not know who he was. The community swimming pool in Burney is named after him and many people wonder why and who he was.

Intermountain News March 4, 1971

Intermountain News March 4, 1971

Even those who do know what role Ray Berry played in Burney from the 1940’s into the 70’s don’t know much about his life before he moved here.

Radium Girls book

Radium Girls book

Now a British author, Kate Moore, has just published a book about a milestone legal case in which Raymond Berry plays a major role : The Radium Girls: They Paid with Their Lives. The Final Fight Was for Justice.

The book is about teen-age girls who worked in a watch-dial painting factory run by United Radium Corporation. A number of them developed horrible symptoms. Some died as a result of radium poisoning. It took awhile to determine the cause and then some of the girls wanted to file suit against the company, but no lawyer would take the case.

Then one courageous, perservering young lady went to see a young lawyer, Raymond H. Berry at his law firm in Newark, New Jersey.

Raymond H. Berry

Raymond H. Berry

It was the young lady’s last shot at achieving justice. Berry who was a fresh, quick-witted lawyer not long graduated from Yale Law School took the case.

By winning a substantial settlement for several of the young women, Berry set a precedent for occupational tort law. It was a landmark case.

Several years later, Berry became the attorney for the Starr family who owned timberland in the Burney area. He came out to Burney and helped to incorporate Scott Lumber Company and served as it’s general manager for several decades. He also helped to start the Chamber of Commerce, to negotiate the building of a railroad from McCloud to Burney, and to begin Shasta County Bank which later merged with Tri Counties bank.

I just thought I would share a little glimpse of my Grandpa Ray’s life before he came to Burney. He was in the right place at the right time when an opportunity came to him to champion a just cause and he has earned a place in history.

See also:

Texas School Girl does National History Day project on “Radium Girl” cases

For more about Raymond Berry see Alex Colvin talking with Steve and Suzie Knoch about the Berry Family and Scott Lumber Company




Filed under Burney, Pit River Area History

2 responses to “Case argued by Raymond H. Berry featured in new book by British author

  1. I am reading the book Radium Girls now, and I want to note that Raymond H. Berry plays an enormous role in this sad story of the “shining” girls/young women who died from painting radium dials on watches to illuminate them before the dangers of radium were fully known. The companies they worked for caught on pretty quickly but the very sick, dying, and injured girls needed somebody like Raymond H. Berry and a couple of great dentists and doctors to help them get some measure of justice. Mr. Berry in a NJ hero in this very, very sad story. Read this excellent book: Radium Girls by Kate Moore.


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