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Helen Cusach's muckraking that exposed the unsanitary working conditions and cruel mistreatment of the women and children in Chicago's manufacturing industry was published under the pseudonym Nell Nelson in her series "City Slave Girls" printed by The Chicago Times in late July 1888. Cusach's satirical and witty exposé created an immediate social agitation causing some of Chicago's most prominent men to publicly react. This included responses from Chicago's governor John Altgeld, the president of the Chicago Board of Trade Charles Hutchinson and the vice president of the First National Bank Lyman Cage, among others. Owners of the textile mills, meat-packing factories and the other commodity industries that Cusach scrutinized recognized the threat, with one manufacturer ultimately suing the paper for misrepresentation. Later in 1888 the Barkley Publishing Company printed an abridged version of the newspaper series in a book titled City Slave Girls. Author John McEnnis also included parts of the series in his 1888 pro-union book The White Slave Girls of Free America. Reprinted in the New York World and referenced by labor and women's rights groups, such as the Illinois Woman's Alliance, the series gained nationwide coverage. Yet, presently Nelson's series is infrequently referenced in the discussion of American industrialization or investigative reporting; her work superseded by that of Upton Sinclair and Nellie Bly.
The Restoration of Nell Nelson project aims to change this through the digitization of Cusach's series. We are making the entire text of the articles available as searchable TEI constrained XML. Using XSLT, SVG and JavaScript we highlight Cusach's distinct use of language and her representation of gender and archetypal speakers. By comparing the original series with the republications we plan to indicate how changes in Cusach's language altered the series original intent for complete exposure of corrupt Chicago industrialization.