Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Out of the Darkness The Story of Mary Ellen Wilson
In 1874, an amazing event took place. A little girl, severely abused and locked away in the horrid tenement buildings of Hell's Kitchen in New York, was finally rescued. A volunteer church worker helping the poor eventually asked Henry Bergh, the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to save her -- and to her great joy, he did. I'm Eric Shelman. Most of you know me for the music videos I make, but I'm also the co-author of "Out of the Darkness: The Story of Mary Ellen Wilson," and "The Mary Ellen Wilson Child Abuse Case and the Beginning of Children's Rights in 19th Century America." The books recount the events leading up to and after the rescue of "Little Mary Ellen" from her abusive home back in 1874 New York. She was rescued through the efforts of Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The organization call the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) was founded in 1875 as a direct result of her case, also by Henry Bergh. It's a fascinating story and something you may have never heard of before. You may also find it interesting that the original SPCA founded in England by "Humanity Dick," also known as Richard Martin MP, 44 years before the American version of the organization was founded by Bergh, in 1825. The organization was granted its "Royal" status by Queen Victoria in 1840 to become the RSPCA.