Full Circle: Woodlawn, Nellie Bly, Undercover Reporting, and The Suffragents

August 18, 2017

Among the events lined up so far for The Suffragents (Facebook lists them most handily or look below) is one now being scheduled for October 22, 2017, at the Woodlawn Conservancy . This invitation was especially pleasing to me—much like the one from the New York City Corner Book Store was for September 11, and for similarly sentimental reasons. Nellie Bly, the subject of my first book, is buried at Woodlawn in a grave that was left chillingly unmarked for about half a century.

Chapeau to  The New York Press Club for placing a headstone for her in 1978 and for establishing an eponymous cub reporter award in her memory. I’d love to know how all that came about.

Bly was only 58 when she died in 1922. At the time, she was a columnist at the New York Evening Journal for her longtime friend from New York World days, Arthur Brisbane, a job he created for her on her return from Vienna after World War I. Those columns were hard to find. The only extant copies of her columns I could locate were at the University of Texas at Austin.

You can read all of Nellie Bly’s greatest hits as an undercover reporter here, on the undercovererporting.org database I created with NYU Libraries. It’s a digital archive that anyone can access, emanating from my research for Undercover Reporting: The Truth About Deception, which was published in 2012.

I like engaging with creating databases from hard-to-retrieve resources. The newest is suffrageandthemedia.org, created far beyond the scope of The Suffragents with a group of amazing journalism and communications history scholars. It’s our contribution to this period of celebration of 100 years of women in the United States having the vote.


National History Day contestants, please read this before you contact me.

The Suffragents won the Gold Medal in US History in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards and was a finalist for the 2018 Sally and Morris Lasky Prize, presented by the Center for Political History.  See Summer Camp Newsletters” and Facebook posts from book-related appearances. Reviews, notices, and articles about my books are under their titles here. My articles are here.

Upcoming Events 2019-2020: August 7:  Panel, “From Emma Goldman to the Marketplace of Ideas: Marking the 100th Anniversary of Free Speech at the Supreme Court.” (page 40) AEJMC, Toronto. August 14: Webinar, National Park Service. September 23: Bentson Dean’s Lecture, College of Arts and Science, New York University.October 17: Suffragents Panel, National Archives, Washington DC. [2020] June 4-6Métiers et professions des médias (XVIIIe-XXIe siècles),”  Université de Lausanne (Switzerland).

Happened 2019: Exhibition Opening Remarks: “Women Get the Vote: A Historic Look at the Nineteenth Amendment,“New York Society Library. February 23: Public Values in Conflict with Animal Agribusiness Practices,” UCLA Law School, Los Angeles.  March 13: The Suffragents,” Scarsdale Woman’s Club, Scarsdale NY. March 24: League of Women Voters, Albany County at the Bethlehem (NY) Public LibraryMarch 25:Judges, Lawyers, and Women’s Suffrage: Recognizing the Men Who Stood with Women on the Front Lines,” Gender Fairness Committee of the Third Judicial District, CLE, NY State Courts at SUNY Albany Law School, Albany NY. May 15: “The Republican Suffragents,” National Women’s Republican Club, New York City.