Nellie Bly, born Elizabeth Jane Cochran on May 5, 1864, was an American journalist, author, and charity worker who received initial renown after writing a stinging expose of the mistreatment of the mentally ill while faking insanity and living undercover at a New York mental institution. At a time when women were just beginning to break into the field of journalism, the type of undercover investigative reporting undertaken by Bly set an important precedent, allowing her to successfully pioneer working in the male dominated field of newspaper writing.
"Ten Days of Reality - Ten Days of Hopelessness"
In 1887, Nellie Bly had herself committed to the notorious Blackwell's Island insane asylum in New York City with the goal of discovering what life was like for its patients. While there, she experienced firsthand the shocking abuse and neglect of its inmates, from inedible food to horrifyingly unsanitary conditions. Ten Days in a Mad-House established Bly as a pioneering female journalist and remains a classic of investigative reporting.