In 1887 23-year-old Nelly Bly talked her way into the offices of Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, and talked the editor into letting her feign insanity in order to write an undercover report into the conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Her investigation was a success in many ways – not only did it result in a grand jury investigation and a $850,000 boost to the relevant budget, it became a best-selling book, and turned Bly into a star.
The following year she managed to get herself a gig recreating Phileas Fogg’s journey around the world in 80 days, completing the journey in just 73 days, under by then national acclaim. In her later years she was a powerful businesswoman, giving it up to return to journalism, work towards women’s suffrage and start one of the first women’s refuges. She was a straight-up amazing human being and an excellent writer too, and I’d recommend that anyone check out these books, free to read or listen to on Librivox.
Ten Days in a Mad-House (full text)
Ten Days in a Mad-House (Amazon)
Ten Days in a Mad-House (audiobook on Librivox)
Ten Days in a Mad-House (article on Mental Floss)
Around the World in Seventy-Two Days (full text)
Around the World in Seventy-Two Days (Amazon)
Around the World in Seventy-Two Days (Librivox)
Stuff You Missed In History Class – Nellie Bly & Stunt Journalism (audio)
The History Chicks – Nellie Bly (audio)