19 Facts About Faux Mad Woman and Journalist Nellie Bly

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19 Facts About Faux Mad Woman and Journalist Nellie Bly

19 Facts About Faux Mad Woman and Journalist Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly recently celebrated a birthday and was so wonderfully recognized by Google in a recent doodle. She’s vastly overlooked within the study of journalism. In case you missed out on the doodle, here are 19 facts on why Nellie Bly was one badass chick.

  1. Born Elizabeth Cochrane May 5, 1864.
  2. Circled the globe in 72 days, beating the Jules Verne’s fictional record of 80 days.
  3. The name “Nellie Bly” comes from a Stephen Foster song.
  4. Her first writing job as a journalist was with the Pittsburgh Dispatch after a letter to the editor she wrote in response after the misogynistic column “What Girls Are Good For”.
  5. She famously wrote about the poverty in Pittsburgh at the time and rallied for better working conditions.
  6. Between 1886 and 1887 she traveled Mexico to expose the corruption of the government, she only left because the dictator Porfirio Diaz threatened to arrest her.
  7. Left Pittsburgh and went to NYC to work at the World in 1887.
  8. One of her major stories came from a stint she did willingly in an insane asylum. Her ruse fooled the courts and doctors alike. She wrote about the horrific conditions which eventually lead to a police investigation of the hospital.  The hospital was awarded an additional $850,000 into their budget for better treatments of patients.
  9. Her next assignment would be to travel the world in which she took the dress she was wearing, several pairs of underwear, and a bag of toiletries. She carried all of her money, some in English bank notes and gold, as well as some American currency, in a bag tied around her neck.
  10. Bly’s trip around the world inspired a rivalry between World and Cosmopolitan who elected to send their own female reporter, Elizabeth Bisland, on the same journey but in the opposite direction.
  11. World set up a betting game to the public on how long it would take for Nellie to travel. The grand prize was a free trip to Europe and spending money.
  12. Bly met Jules Verne during her stop in France
  13. Because she traveled by steamships and existing railroad systems, travel was sometimes difficult especially throughout Asia.
  14. During her time in Asia, she stopped in China to visit a leper colony and then later would visit Singapore and buy a monkey.
  15. She arrived back in NYC on January 25, 1890 72 days after she left
  16. After marrying a millionaire manufacturer Robert Seaman, she became the president of the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co.
  17. Though she had become one of the most prominent woman industrialists, Iron Clad would soon go under because of employee embezzlement.
  18. She turned back to journalism and began covering stories from the Eastern Front during WWI. She also covered the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 with headline, “Suffragists Are Men’s Superiors”.
  19. Nellie Bly died of pneumonia while living in NYC during 1922. Strangely, her rival from the Cosmopolitan was eventually buried in the same cemetery, she too died of pneumonia in 1929.


Related topics journalist, Nellie Bly, suffragette
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