NELLIE BLY

NELLIE BLY

In 1880, the Pittsburgh Dispatch published an article entitled “What Girls Are Good For” written by the “Quiet Observer,” or “Q.O.,” stating that (among other fucked up things) a working woman was “a monstrosity.” Eighteen year old Elizabeth Cochrane wasted no time taking pen to paper to let the publication know exactly what she thought of this steaming crock of misogynist bullshit. The editor of the Dispatch was so impressed by her eloquence and fervor that he offered Elizabeth Cochrane a writing position under the pen name Nellie Bly where she worked for five years, writing about social justice, calling for labor laws to be expanded to protect working women, and the reformation of Pennsylvania’s divorce law, which heavily favored men. She even travelled to Mexico as a foreign correspondent where she wrote an expose on political corruption and was subsequently booted back to the US by the Mexican government. AND WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED. 

After growing weary of being assigned to “stories about flower shows and fashion” Nellie left a note at the Dispatch which simply stated "Dear Q.O., I'm off for New York. Look out for me. Bly,” where she quickly joined the staff at Joseph Pulitzer’s “New York World.” Her first assignment took her undercover into a mental institution where she pretended to be crazy, got herself committed and exposed the physical abuse, disgusting living conditions and heartless cruelty she witnessed inside. She is known as a pioneer of investigative journalism who took shit from no one and worked tirelessly for the poor and disenfranchised, exposing corruption and fighting for equal rights and social reform. Oh, and in 1889 she then she took a little trip around the world (at the ripe old age of 25) to see if she could beat Jules Verne’s hero from “Around the World in Eighty Days” - which she did, returning in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes. FUCK YES. NELLIE BLY. 

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