Nellie Bly is either a name you’ve never heard, or a name you champion. As one of the first female investigative journalists in the United States, Bly undertook dangerous endeavors to get to the root of common issues. In her book, Ten Days in a Mad House (which you can read here for free) Bly documented the horrific conditions of those locked in insane asylums. She managed to infiltrate the asylum, under great risk to herself and no clear idea of how her publisher might get her out, to give a voice to those locked inside. Many women were sent to asylums for refusing to submit to abusive husbands, or often because they were immigrants who could not express themselves in English. If you think xenophobia is a new thing, you haven’t read enough history books to know better. Bly was just 23 years-old when she entered Blackwell’s Island Asylum. She would go on to do such heroic feats as travel the world in 72 days. In short, Bly was a total badass and pushed her way to the top of an industry usually seen only by men. .
In the new film, 10 Days in a Madhouse, Nellie Bly’s story comes to the screen. Sadly, the film is only in limited release in New York and other select cities. Still, it’s a start. The book Ten Days in a Mad-House is available on Amazon.