Born May 5, 1864 as Elizabeth Jane Cochran, Nellie Bly was a pioneering female newspaper reporter. She became a celebrity in 1889 at the age of twenty-five when she traveled around the world in just seventy-two days, breaking the fictional record created in Jules Vernes' 1873 novel "Around the World in 80 Days." She titled her book, "Around the World in 72 Days".
This American Experience site is my pick of the day. It contains a transcript of the 1997 PBS film that chronicles Bly's famous globetrot, but the best clicks elsewhere. Listen to the Stephen Foster song that became the inspiration for Cochrane's Nellie Bly pen name (Special Features.) Read Bly's biography (People& Events) and about Bly's stay in New York City's "notorious lunatic asylum" (Special Features.) View an annotated map of the journey that made Bly famous (Maps.)
In 1998, Rosemary Gazzillo was a student in Professor Catherine Lavender's Women's Studies class at City University of New York, where she wrote this one-page Nellie Bly biography. More than just dates and events, Gazzillo examines the circumstances that influenced Bly's "passion for women's rights." Reports on other famous New York women, including Lucille Ball, Dorothy Parker and Bella Abzug, can be found by following the link to the Women's Biography Hub.
Bly's seventy-two-day trip brought her fame and made her the subject of dozens of Victorian trading cards. "When Nellie Bly went on the fly, to show what courage dared to try, she made the startled world confess, men don't monopolize success." This fan site was created by a distant relative of Nellie Bly, who only identifies herself with an email address. Visit to view six Nellie Bly trading cards, and a Cochran family history illustrated with photos.
"It was her first newspaper assignment in New York City. To get the job, the twenty-three -year-old woman had agreed to go undercover to investigate abuses at an insane asylum. Her name was Nellie Bly. Today, few Americans recognize that name. But 100 years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find any American who did not." This page consists of six short articles, and concludes with two questions (perfect for an elementary classroom) and a book list.
"On January 25, 1890, police cleared a path through a cheering crowd for reporter Nellie Bly as she stepped off a train in New York just 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds after setting sail east to prove she could circle the globe in less than 80 days." This Library of Congress site pairs Bly's story with that of the World Transportation Commission, which set out four years after Bly to photograph world transportation such as rickshaws and saddled camels. To view the photos, click on "Around the World in the 1890s, 1894-1896."