Nellie Bly Biography

Nellie Bly

(Elizabeth Cochrane)
Born: 5/5/1864
Birthplace: Cochran's Mills, Pa.

Bly is best remembered for circling the globe in 72 days, thus beating the record of Around the World in Eighty Days's hero, Phileas Fogg. But Bly was a well-established journalist long before she began the stunt, which she did as a reporter for the New York World.

Bly landed a job writing for the Pittsburgh Dispatch after submitting an impressive letter to the editor. She started using her pen name, which was taken from a character in a Stephen Foster song, as a reporter for the paper. She made her mark at the paper writing about working conditions in Pittsburgh, the dispossessed, and the city's slum life. In 1886 and 1887, she traveled extensively through Mexico, exposing the horrid conditions under which the poor were living and corruption among government officials. A collection of the articles was published as Six Months in Mexico.

She left Pittsburgh for New York City in 1887 and went to work for the World. She had herself committed to an insane asylum and wrote about the horrific conditions. Her articles led to an investigation of the institution. She quickly became one of the most respected muckrakers of her time, and the term Nellie Bly continues to be synonymous with a highly regarded female investigative journalist.

Died: 1/27/1922

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