Facts of Nellie Bly
|Full Name:||Nellie Bly|
Nellie Bly is a pioneering female journalist best known for her 72-day trip around the world and exposé on the conditions of asylum patients on Blackwell’s Island in New York City. Nellie Bly is also a writer, inventor, and industrialist.
How old is Nellie Bly?
Nellie was born Elizabeth Mary Jane Cochran on May 5, 1864. Her birthplace, “Cochran’s Mills,” is now a part of Pittsburgh. In the 1790s, the Conchrans emigrated from County Londonderry, Ireland. Elizabeth’s father, Michael Cochran, used to work as a laborer and mill worker.
However, he later became a merchant, postmaster, and associate justice at Cochran’s Mills. Michael’s second wife, Mary Jane, was Elizabeth’s mother. He married her after the death of his first wife, Catherine Murphy. Elizabeth had four siblings and ten half-siblings. Pinky, as Nellie was known in her younger days for frequently wearing that color, changed her surname to “Cochrane” when she was a teenager. She even went to boarding school but had to drop out after her father died. She later enrolled at the Indiana Normal School.
What College Did Nellie attend?
Then she enrolled in a small college in Indiana. However, due to the financial crisis, she was unable to continue her higher education. As a result, in 1880, she and her family relocated to Pittsburgh and opened a boarding house with her mother.
Was Nellie Bly Married?
In 1895, Bly married 73-year-old millionaire manufacturer Robert Seaman. She was only 31 at the time. Due to her husband’s health issues, Bly was forced to look after him and his business. Sadly, Robert died after only 9 years of marriage.
On January 27, 1922, America lost one of its most illustrious investigative journalists. Bly was 57 years old when she died of pneumonia at St. Mark’s Hospital in New York City. She was laid to rest in The Bronx’s Woodlawn Cemetery.
Awards and Nomination’s of Nellie Bly
Bly had done an outstanding job in her lifetime. Even after her demise, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998. Furthermore, she was one of four journalists honored with a US postage stamp in a 2002 “Women in Journalism” set.
Aside from that, movies have been made based on her life experiences. Timothy Hines directed the 2015 film ’10 Days in a Madhouse,’ which depicts Bly’s harrowing experience in the asylum. In 2019, another thriller film based on her undercover experience at the asylum, titled ‘Escaping the Mad House,’ was released.
Career Line of Nellie Bly
- Bly received attention for her writing after she submitted a racy response to an editorial piece published in the Pittsburgh Dispatch.
- Erasmus Wilson’s editorial “What Girls Are Good For” declared that girls are limited in domestic duties. Bly’s reaction to the article impressed the paper’s managing editor, George Madden. In exchange, he offered her a full-time job.
- Bly began working for the Pittsburgh Dispatch under the pen name “Nellie Bly” in 1885. It is derived from Stephan Foster’s well-known song “Nelly Bly.” As a reporter for the ‘Pittsburgh Dispatch,’ she emphasized the importance of women’s rights and the consequences of gender inequality.
- She presented articles about divorced women, female factory workers, and their poor living conditions. However, after receiving complaints from factory owners, she was transferred to the women’s page to cover fashion, society, and gardening. That’s when she decided she wanted to find a more meaningful career.
- As a result, she decided to go to Mexico and work as a foreign correspondent. She spent six months in Mexico researching and reporting on the locals. She even chastised the Mexican government for imprisoning a local journalist.
- When the authorities learned about her article, they threatened to arrest her. As a result, she fled back to the United States.
- After leaving the Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1887, she moved to New York and began working for the New York World. One of her earlier assignments was to conduct an undercover investigation into the experiences of patients at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island in New York City.
- For this, she pretended to be a mental patient and spent 10 days in the Asylum. She witnessed and was subjected to neglect and physical abuse. After her return, she published the exposé in ‘the world.’
- She later went on to publish the best-selling book ‘Ten Days in a Madhouse.’ It not only brought her fame, but it also prompted the asylum to implement reforms.
- Following the Blackwell exposé, Bly continued similar investigative work.
- Her major reports include allegations of corruption in the state legislature and improper treatment of individuals in New York jails and factories.
- Bly decided to break the fictitious record of Phileas Fogg, the fictional title character in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days. So she asked her editor at the New York World if she could take a trip around the world. On November 14, 1889, she embarked on her journey to conquer the world aboard the Augusta Victoria, a steamer of the Hamburg America Line based in New Jersey.
- She visited England, France, Italy, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Malasia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. Throughout her journey, she sent updates. On January 25, 1890, she arrived in New Jersey after 72 days, 6 hours, and 11 minutes, setting a real-world record.
- Bly received an internal award for completing her months-long project. In 1890, she published a book titled ‘Around the World in Seventy-Two Days.’
- After her marriage to industrialist Robert Seaman, a world-famous journalist retired and took over her husband’s Iron-Clad Manufacturing Co. She rose to prominence as one of the leading female industrialists of her era after inventing a novel milk can and a stacking garbage can.
- She held a US patent for both inventions under her married name, Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman.
- During his tenure as CEO, Bly instituted significant social reforms in the industry, allowing employees to enjoy a variety of benefits
- . However, the company went bankrupt, and Bly returned to the newspaper industry. She used to work for the New York Evening Journal, where she covered events such as World War I and the women’s suffrage movement.