To celebrate Women’s History Month, we look at the life and times of one of America’s trailblazing journalists, Nellie Bly. She became one of the most famous people in the world when, in late 1889, she set out to accomplish what others had only dreamed of -- to make the fantasy of Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days a reality. Seventy-two days after departing Hoboken, she arrived back in New Jersey on January 25, 1890 -- the first person to circle the globe with such speed.
But Bly’s complete story is even more remarkable. As one of Joseph Pulitzer’s prize reporters, she spent years documenting the lives of America’s underclass. The first story to put her in the forefront was a remarkable account of her experience in a “madhouse.” Posing as a mentally unstable woman, Bly spent 10 harrowing days in the most infamous asylum in New York City. Her expose of the horrors she witnessed and experienced shook the city and America to the core. This would be the first of many stories Bly would write as a covert reporter, single-handedly creating a whole new genre of journalism: underground investigative reporting.
What really made Bly a household name was that she spent a lifetime doing things a “reserved” Victorian woman just wasn’t supposed to do.
Made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities Fund of The Library Foundation.