Logo McKinley Header    Interviews and Writings of Nellie Bly
Banner red FA     Letter to the Editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch from a
                          "Lonely Orphan Girl," 1885
    Hired by editor George Madden at five dollars a week

In the last year of the Civil War, Nellie Bly's mother christened baby Elizabeth Jane in a bright pink gown in Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania. From that day on the family called her "Pink." But the world came to love her as the outrageous, irrepressible stunt reporter Nellie Bly.

At 18 Pink Cochran read an op-ed piece "What Girls are Good For" by Pittsburgh's most popular columnist. Erasmus Wilson called for women to stay at home because a working woman is "a monstrosity." Pink wrote a scalding reply.

That letter bought her a talk with the editor of the Dispatch. That talk bought her a job.
But Pittsburgh wasn't big enough to hold Pink. She hungered for a bite of the Big Apple.

In 1887 John Cockerill, manager of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World dared the intrepid 23-year-old to go undercover at the city's insane asylum. Nelly fired up the city's conscience with "Ten Days in a Mad-House"--stories of beatings, rotten food, and ice cold baths.

Her heartrending style and daredevil ways made her the most famous newspaper woman in the world. No risk was too great, no place too dangerous for Pink's legendary courage. She went undercover to expose life in a sweatshop. She profiled the lives of prostitutes, chorus girls and an unwed mother so desperate she tried to sell her baby. Pink 3

Her most sensational stunt took her around the world--not in 80 days like fictional Fileas Fogg in Jules Verne's book--but in a mere 72. Her entire luggage when she set out from Hoboken On November 14, 1889 consisted of a thousand British pounds and a small satchel. On the trip Bly rode out a typhoon, spent Christmas Day in a leper colony in China, and eluded smallpox quarantine by jumping from a pier onto a tug in San Francisco harbor. Sporting a pet monkey on her shoulder, Nellie arrived to adulation. New York greeted her with fireworks, parades and brass bands.

People idolized this petite dynamo. Her image popped up everywhere in posters, soap ads and cartoons. Toy companies sold Nellie Bly dolls, and composers wrote songs to praise her.

On April 5, 1895, she gave up journalism to marry rich industrialist Robert Seaman--40 years older than Nellie. He left her a millionaire widow--whereupon she ran The Iron Clad Manufacturing Company into the ground. That was after--perhaps because of--her innovations--such as an employee recreation center and library.

In 1914, Nellie was in the right place at the right time to cover WWI. She posted stories from the enemy capital of Austria.

Nellie made a career of beating men at men's games. Even if they didn't like losing, they had to grudgingly acknowledge that Nellie Bly was the most amazing woman of her day--and that nothing could intimidate her. Nothing could scare her away from getting the story she went after.




Gazzillo, Rosemary."Nelly Bly." The Department of History and The Program in Women's Studies, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York. Fall 1998.
Kroeger, Brooke. Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist P. 84.
Levins, Harry. "World-Circling Trip Made 19th-Century Woman a Wonder," Post-Dispatch. Jan. 6, 1998: A8.
"Putting their Stamp on History," St. Louis Post Dispatch. March 4, 2003. p. E4.



         Nellie Bly--The Most Celebrated News Reporter of the 19th Century
                            Six Months in Mexico
      Book based upon her series titled "Nellie in Mexico"
         Mexican authorities deported her for the expose
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                       Ten Days in a Mad-House

Gilded Age                          " Trying to be a Servant"
Jack the Ripper                        "Nellie Bly as a White Slave"
Nelly Bly Sketch                     

               Interviewed anarchist Emma Goldman
            in the New York World, September 17, 1893


         Nelly Bly                      Around the World in 72 Days
Her book based upon her series "Round the World with Nellie Bly"
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                    The Mystery of Central Park
                             Nellie's only novel

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    She Talks Fully to Nellie Bly in Trenton State Prison

Upcoming        Gordon Fawcett Hamby is electrocuted at Sing Sing January 29, 1920
Nellie became "the first woman to witness an execution in 21 years
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