Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter: Nellie Bly by Deborah Noyes (2016)
A charming and beautifully designed book that gives the high points of Nellie Bly’s life and unfortunately premature death from pneumonia at age 52. It was especially interesting to me, having lived in Queens across from Roosevelt’s Island (unrecognizable to me today with the massive development in the 20 years since I was there). This island was the location of the horrific Blackwell Sanatorium for mentally ill, who, of course, especially with women I am sure, were as likely to be sane as not; especially when they had rich relatives who wanted them away.The brutality of the treatments she documented were as bad as the notorious Bedlam I suspect. Cruel and thuggish nurses torturing the patients, starving them, depriving them of everything even the right to speak to each other or do something other than sit rigidly on a bench for 10 hours or more a day. Held underwater in cold water tubs for sport, and sent to miserable excuses of beds. And then, being told, since it was charity, she had no right to complain.