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Meet Nellie Bly

Nellie BlyNellie Bly was one of the first investigative newspaper reporters, best known for traveling around the world in 72 days, which was quite a feat in 1888. She was only 24 years old at the time and traveled alone on steamships and trains, which was very unusual for a young woman to do. Reports about her journey were published in the newspaper and by the time she returned, she had become a celebrity.

nellie blyNellie was born in 1864 near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Her name was actually Elizabeth Jane Cochran, but she used the name Nellie Bly as her pen name when writing her newspaper stories and that’s the name people associated with her.

Round the World game
One of the most popular board games of the 1890s was “Round the World with Nellie Bly,” which was based on her round-the-world travels.

One of the first stories Nellie investigated, in 1887, was about the horrible conditions inside an insane asylum in New York. In order to find out what it was really like inside the facility, she made believe she was a crazy person and let them lock her up with the other people who had been diagnosed as being insane.  Her story about the frightening experiences she had inside the hospital helped improve the conditions for the other patients at the asylum.

When Nellie was 31 years old, she retired from writing newspaper stories and became the leader of a company that made steel barrels and milk cans, where she invented a stacking garbage can.

Nellie Bly died of pneumonia in 1922, when she was 57 years old.

Nellie Bly's welcome reception
This picture, published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated News, shows the welcome Nellie received when she returned from her Round the World tour.

Read more about Nellie Bly:

Who was Nellie Bly?

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Page updated: 10/29/2015