May 5th Should Be a National Holiday

New York World photo to promote Bly's around-the-world voyage.
New York World photo to promote Bly’s around-the-world voyage.

Nellie Bly was born on May 5th in 1864.

Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864. In the 1880s and 1890s, as a reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, she was a pioneer in investigative reporting. Before the “muckrakers” of the early 20th century publicized corruption and today’s investigative reporters sought the ‘story behind the story,” Bly was one of the first to “go behind the scenes” to expose the ills of society. At considerable personal risk, she had herself committed to a mental institution so she could study first-hand how the mentally ill were treated. As a result of her “expose,” the care of the mentally ill was reformed. The New York Journal recognized her as the “best reporter in America.”

National Women’s Hall of Fame

She went down into the sea in a diving bell and up in the air in a balloon and lived in an insane asylum as a patient; but the feat that made her famous was her trip around the world in 1889. She was sent by The World to beat the mark of Phileas Fogg, Jules Verne’s hero of “Around the World in Eighty Days,” and she succeeded, making the tour in 72 days 6 hours 11 minutes. Every one who read newspapers followed her progress and she landed in New York a national character.

The New York Times