top of page



You are a young journalist with dreams of making it big. 

Until now, women have only been allowed to write about gossip, art, and culture. You are more interested in exposing the corruption and suffering that exists in America.

Will you place yourself in danger so that others may suffer less in the future? 

After the dilemma:

What really happened

     When Nellie Bly (1864-1922) started her career as a journalist, women were limited to writing about theatre, fashion, gardening, and decorating.


     Bly made a name for herself with the Mexico adventure that is mentioned in the dilemma, but in real life, she was not given a choice between the lunatic asylum and the Ellis Island story. Her editor told her to go into the lunatic asylum, and she wrote about her experiences in a book called Ten Days in a Mad-House.


     At the Blackwell Asylum, women were often beaten, forced to take ice-cold baths, and given little more than stale bread to eat. Bly's reporting brought attention to the horrible treatment of women in asylums, and led to reforms that improved patient care.

     After the asylum story, Nellie Bly became a celebrity. Her fame increased when, in 1889, she traveled around the world in a record-setting 72 days. 

Animated Nellie Bly Documentary




Progressive Era, Journalism, Women in History, Newspaper, Asylum

nellie bly.gif
Ten Days In A Madhouse
bottom of page