Nellie Bly (1867-1922 )(Elizabeth Cochrane) • First Woman of the News • Nicknamed Nellie Bly
Elizabeth’s Childhood • Elizabeth Cochrane was born on May 5, 1867. She was born in Cochran Mills, Pennsylvania. Six years after she was born, her father died. Only her mother, Mary Jane Cochrane was left with 15 children to raise. When Elizabeth was young, she had a strong desire to be a writer.
Moving to Get a Job • The Cochrane family was very poor. When Elizabeth was 16, she moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to find work. She found out that woman could only get low-paid jobs.
Arguing In 1885, she read an article in the Pittsburgh Dispatch titled “What Girls Are Good For”. The male writer argued that females were only good at housework and taking care of children. She wrote a letter to the editor to protest.
Getting a Job • A man named George Madden responded by asking what articles she’d write if she was a journalist. She replied that newspapers should be publishing articles that told the stories of ordinary people. As a result of her letter, Madden commissioned Elizabeth, who was only 18, to write an article on the lives of woman.
A New Name • Elizabeth accepted, but it was considered improper for at that time for woman journalists to use their real names, so she used a pseudonym. Her name was Nellie Bly.
Around the World in 80 Days • One of her writings was called “Divorce”. Madden was so pleased that he hired her as a full-time reporter for the New York Dispatch. After reading Jules Verne’s Around the world in 80 days in 1889, Bly suggested to Joseph Pulitzer that his newspaper should finance an attempt to break the record illustrated in the book. He liked the idea and used Bly’s journey to publicize the New York World.
A Record • The newspaper held a competition involved guessing the time it would take Bly to circle the globe. Over 1,000,000 people entered the contest and when she arrived back in New York on January 25,1890. She was met by a massive crowd to see her break the record in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds.
The End Nellie Bly, First Woman of the News • Nellie Bly retired from journalism after Robert Seaman in 1895. Seaman, the millionaire owner of the Iron Clad Manufacturing Company and the American Steel Barrel Company, died in 1904. Years later, Nellie Bly died of pneumonia in New York on January 27th, 1922.
First Woman of the News Nellie Bly A Writer & Reporter
Letter to Mom I wrote a letter pretending to be Nellie Bly, click here to read it.
Written Biography • To read the final copy of my biography click here.