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Out of the darkness is not only the story of the abused child mary ellen wilson of the latter 1800s but also the story of fanny connor her mother who abandoned her after the death of her husband in the civil war mary connolly the stepmother who cruelly abused the girl henry bergh founder of the aspca who anguished by mary ellens case founded the society for the prevention of cruelty . Out of the darkness vividly details mary ellens life as a captive in her hells kitchen tenement left alone during the day to find her own playthings a few strings and a pet spider named timmy the situation only became worse when her mother returned home to administer shockingly brutal daily beatings. In 1874 an amazing event took place the american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals aspca initiated the rescue of a severely abused child named mary ellen wilson little mary ellen as she became known was beaten burned and slashed with scissors her brutal adoptive mother mary connolly locking her indoors for over 7 years. Mary ellen wilson march 1864 october 30 1956 or sometimes mary ellen mccormack was an american whose case of child abuse led to the creation of the new york society for the prevention of cruelty to children at the age of eight she was severely abused by her foster parents francis and mary connolly because she was assisted by henry bergh then the head of the american society for the . Buy out of the darkness the story of mary ellen wilson by shelman eric a lazoritz stephan isbn 9780966940008 from amazons book store everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders