Who is she?
Where do you start? Nellie was a groundbreaking journalist, inventor (she invented a type of milk can and stacking garbage can), industrialist and adventurer.
In 1880, Nellie caught the attention of a newspaper editor in Pittsburgh when she wrote a fierce rebuttal to a story called “What Girls Are Good For”. The editor was so impressed, he hired her, and she set about writing about conditions for working women at the time. Her work was pushed to the “ladies’ pages”, but she soon got fed up with this, and set off to be a foreign correspondent in Mexico.
After moving to New York, she convinced a newspaper to send her undercover into a women’s lunatic asylum, where she reported on the hideous conditions and barbaric treatment of patients. Her story, Ten Days in a Mad House, caused a sensation and led to greater funding for treatment of the mentally ill.
In 1888, Nellie travelled around the world in 72 days, setting a world record at the time.
Why should we thank her?
As well as exposing conditions for women in mental asylums, Nellie was a pioneering woman journalist who spoke out for people with didn’t have a voice at the time. And just how ACE was she?
“They were being driven to a prison, through no fault of their own, in all probability for life. In comparison, how much easier it would be to walk to the gallows than to this tomb of living horrors!”