Nellie Bly, 1890

Photo credit H.J. Meyers, 1890. Source: Library of Congress.

Nellie Bly, born Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (1864-1922), was a trailblazing journalist, a daring adventurer, and a women’s rights advocate. She made history with her investigative reporting and fearless determination. In 1887, Bly burst into the male-dominated journalism world with her audacious exposé “Ten Days in a Mad-House,” where she feigned insanity to investigate the mistreatment of patients in an asylum. Her undercover reporting revealed appalling conditions, sparking widespread reforms in mental health institutions.

Beyond her groundbreaking reporting, Nellie Bly was a globetrotter who embarked on a record-breaking journey around the world in 1889. Inspired by Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in Eighty Days,” she set out to circumnavigate the globe in less time, accomplishing the feat in just 72 days, breaking the fictional record and setting a real-world one.

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