Ten Days in a Mad-House

Ten Days in a Mad-House

Nellie Bly

  • ISBN: 978-1-961368-18-7
  • First published: 1887
  • Publication date: 2024

Ten Days in a Mad-House compiles Nellie Bly's reporting from her first undercover assignment for the New York World in 1887. She disguised herself as "a crazy person" in order to get herself admitted to the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt's Island). She spent ten days there as a patient before the World secured her release. Her articles led to a grand jury investigation and a major budget expansion for New York State asylums.

While Bly's projects were often framed as stunts— by her paper and others—Ten Days is a serious examination of what happens to women that society finds inconvenient (whether or not they have an illness). Bly describes her experience with frank horror while also deploying her trademark observational humor, trained on the absurdity of the institution and the people who uphold its abuses. Cita's edition positions this landmark text within the tradition of feminist literature about women's experiences with mental illness, mental health treatment, and in mental institutions.

Foreword: Mikita Brottman is an author, psychoanalyst, and professor of literature at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

Cover & Illustrations: Dajia Zhou is an illustrator, storyteller, and daydreamer currently based in Boston, MA.