April A to Z Challenge 2016

N: Nellie Bly


Nellie, whose real name was Elizabeth Cochran, wanted two things in life. One, to be independent  and two, to be a writer. But in 1879 there weren’t many positions available for female writers. While trying to scrape together a living running a boarding house in Pittsburgh she read an article that stated that women belonged in the home. That the only tasks they were fit for were the domestic ones. This of course infuriated her. She wasn’t the only woman in the city who had no choice but to work for a living.  Nellie did the only thing she could, she wrote a reply to the newspaper. They loved it and gave her, her own column and the name Nellie Bly.

She started off by confronting sexist ideologies then moved to New York to become an investigative reporter. She posed as a mental asylum patient in order to expose the horrible way in which the mentally ill of New York were treated. The piece that she wrote was a huge success. It was so popular that that it was republished as a book called “Ten Days in a Mad House.” Her story led to drastic changes in health care from the treatment of the patients to the management of the nurses.

One night while trying to figure out what to bring to her editor for his disapproval she realized she needed a vacation. That led to the brilliant idea of sailing around the world in 72 days because as she said “If I could do it as quickly as Phileas Fogg did, I should go.”

Nellie managed the trip in 72 days and wrote a book called “Around the World in 72 days.”

Nellies’s books are timeless. For today’s recommendations I suggest the books recommended above and of course “Around the World in 80 days.”



One thought on “N: Nellie Bly

  1. Great choice for N. Well done on keeping up with your posts! Enjoyed reading about Nellie Bly, I wonder if someone were to do what she did today if that would get her a job and a column?



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