This lovely lady is the brave and pioneering investigative journalist Nellie Bly. Bly (born Elizabeth Cochran) began her career in journalism in the late nineteenth century by adopting a pen name and launching into a new kind of investigative journalism in which she championed the poor and disenfranchised. Defying sexism and poor opportunities for young women at every turn, Bly gained fame and recognition by her distinctly empathetic and critical writing style and her willingness to undergo intense undercover investigations in order to expose corruption and its effects on the nation’s underprivileged. Her biggest story was her first assignment for Joe Pulitzer’s the “New York World”, where she posed as a mad woman in a mental asylum in order to expose the horrendous conditions and cruelty the inmates suffered. As if her continued, life-long career of advocacy wasn’t enough, this incredible woman embarked on a world trip in 1889, in order to beat the record set by Jules verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, which she finally did, arriving back in New York City after 72 days. You wish you were this cool.
President in Petticoats! Civil War Propaganda in Photographs Photography
As the American Civil War ground to a dispiriting and unheroic end after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s rebel forces and the shocking assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in mid-April 1865, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, became a political fugitive. At dawn on May 10, 1865, a contingent of Michigan cavalry captured Davis in a makeshift camp outside Irwinville, Georgia. In his haste to flee, Davis grabbed his wife’s overcoat rather than his own. News reports immediately circulated that Davis had been apprehended in women’s clothes and that he was attempting to disguise himself as a woman. Northern artists and caricaturists seized upon these rumors of cowardly escape and created wildly inventive images, some using photomontage, to sensationalize the political story. Photographers circulated and even pirated dozens of fanciful photographic cards; many used a photographic portrait of Davis on a hand-drawn body in a woman’s dress, hat, and crinoline, but wearing his own boots, the detail that supposedly betrayed him to his captors. The exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barnett.
This exhibition was made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
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