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Dorr spent the better part of 1906 and 1907 under contract to Everybody's Magazine to witness and experience the feminization of the trades. She went undercover to work in the accounts division of a department store and as a commercial laundress and then in a number of factories across the country, including manufacturers of shirts, cakes and biscuits, and spun yarn. She struggled with writing for publication and was assigned a collaborator who overtook her command of the project.

From the book jacket: "A tale of cold beer and hot graft, in which a team of investigative reporters ran a Chicago tavern to probe corruption-- and pulled off the greatest sting in the city's history." Mirage was the name of the pub and the focus of a 25-part series in the Chicago Sun-Times that, during the Pulitzer Prize deliberations of 1979, put undercover reporting under cloud.

For the Nashville Tennessean in 1968, Nat Caldwell investigated Nashville's privately owned nursing homes in part by reporting above board and in part by posing as an elderly patient to spend a week at three of them.

Bly was one of the most visible and attention-getting exponents of undercover reporting -- "stunt" or "detective" reporting, as this precursor of full-scale investigative work was known in her day -- though by no means the first or the only.

Emmeline Pendennis, under the editorship of Charles Chapin at the New York Evening World, presented herself as Helen King, a young woman who had lost her bags and purse, to produce a series that explored what someone without means in New York City could do to get help.