She pioneered investigative journalism when she took on a dangerous assignment to go undercover at what was then the 'New York Women's Lunatic Asylum' in 1887. She stayed up late to give herself the appearance of a 'disturbed woman' in order to be committed and once inside, she documented and later exposed the horror and atrocities that inpatients experienced, leading to countrywide reform. She went on to do the same inside workhouses, orphanages and other institutions and became a household name after growing up in abject poverty. Oh, and then she travelled the entire world in less than 80 days, inspired by the Jules Verne novel that had been published not long before. She was brave, intrepid, honourable and adventurous, so why isn't she more well known?
Dan is joined by author Rosemary J. Brown who followed in Nellie's footsteps, travelling the same route she took around the globe to better understand the woman who achieved an astonishing amount in her lifetime.
Some of the language in this episode reflects mental health terminology used during the 19th century.