The Hidden History Of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters” Presented By RIHS And Roosevelt Island NYPL Tuesday September 21 Via Zoom

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) and the New York Public Library Roosevelt Island branch are hosting a talk by Kim Todd, author of the book:

 Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters”

on Tuesday September 21 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM via Zoom. 

Click here for more information and to register.

According to Ms Todd’s website, her book is described as: 

A vivid history that brings to light the “girl stunt reporters” who went undercover and into danger to expose the rot at the heart of the Gilded Age.

In the waning years of the nineteenth century, female journalists across the United States risked reputation and their own safety to expose the hazardous conditions under which many Americans lived and worked. In various disguises, they stole into sewing factories to report on child labor, fainted in the streets to test public hospital treatment, posed as lobbyists to reveal corrupt politicians. Inventive writers whose in-depth narratives made headlines for weeks at a stretch, these “girl stunt reporters” changed laws, helped launch a labor movement, championed women’s rights, and redefined journalism for the modern age….

Ms Todd writes in the Smithsonian Magazine about the “Girl Stunt Reporters

… After Nellie Bly, whose 1887 series “Ten Days in a Mad House” had been a windfall for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, everyone wanted a girl stunt reporter. In little more than two years after Bly got herself committed to New York City’s notorious Blackwell’s Island insane asylum, Annie Laurie fainted in a San Francisco street to report for the Examiner on her ill treatment at a public hospital. For the St. Paul Daily Globe, Eva Gay slipped into an industrial laundry to interview women sickened by the damp. Nora Marks reported for the Chicago Tribune on boys as young as 10 being held for trial at the Cook County Jail, some for more than a month. 

Their reporting had real-world consequences, increasing funding to treat the mentally ill and inspiring labor organizations that pushed for protective laws. And they were so popular that, while in 1880 it was practically impossible for a female reporter to get off the ladies’ page, by 1900 more articles had women’s bylines than men’s….

Ms Todd talks about her book Sensational: The Hidden History Of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters” in this Freedom Forum conversation.

RIHS President Judy Berdy adds: 

This program can be viewed in the community room at the NYPL RI branch.
or on Zoom at home.
(The speaker is in Minneapolis) It would be nice to have an audience at the library.


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