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Ten Days in a Mad-House (1887) is a book by American investigative journalist Nellie Bly. For her first assignment for Joseph Pulitzer’s famed New York World newspaper, Bly went undercover as a patient at a notorious insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Spending ten days there, she recorded the abuses and neglect she witnessed, turning her research into a sensational two-part story for the New York World later published as Ten Days in a Mad-House.
Checking into a New York boardinghouse under a false identity, Bly began acting in a disturbed, unsettling manner, prompting the police to be summoned. In a courtroom the next morning, she claimed to be suffering from amnesia, leading to her diagnosis as insane from several doctors. Sent to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum, Bly spent ten days witnessing and experiencing rampant abuse and neglect. There, she noticed that many of the patients, who were constantly beaten and belittled by violent nurses and staff members, seemed perfectly sane or showed signs of having their conditions severely worsened during their time at the asylum. Served spoiled food, forced to live in squalor, and given ice-cold baths by unsympathetic attendants, the patients she met during her stay seemed as though abandoned by a city that had sent them there for the supposed purpose of healing. Showcasing her skill as a reporter and true pioneer of investigative journalism, Bly published her story to a captivated and inspired audience, setting in motion a process of reform that would change the city’s approach to its asylums for the better.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House is a classic work of American investigative journalism reimagined for modern readers.