elizabeth cochran

Sit down buckaroos because I’m gonna share some historical insight with you because of ignorant people who are trying to discard the most badass character in all of feminist characters in musical theatre history and I won’t take that.
Katherine Ethel Pulitzer was a real person - daughter of Joseph and Kate Pulitzer. So there’s fact number 1 to prove she was an actual living person in the 1800’s. Fact 2. When you say women weren’t journalists back then well you obviously have never heard nor read about Elizabeth Jane Cochran also known by her pen name “Nellie Bly”. She was the inspiration behind Katherine’s character in the first place. They basically merged the real Katherine with Nellie and created this character. Nellie Bly began writing for “The Pittsburg Dispatch” in 1885 and moved to New York City two years later to begin working at “New York World”. She was known for her investigative and undercover reporting, including posing as a sweatshop worker to expose poor working conditions faced by women. She earned her acclaim in 1887 when she went undercover at an asylum on Blackwell’s Island and posed as one of the patients to get the story and in turn had launched a full on investigation on the treatment of the institution and the well being of patients (which wasn’t a well being at all with neglect and physical abuse) in said facility. In 1889 she went around the world in a record-setting 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds in attempt to break the faux record of Phileas Fogg, the fictional title character in Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in 80 Days”. At the age of 18 (my age) she submitted a racy response to an editorial piece that had been published in The Pittsburgh Dispatch that made sexist statements towards women. The writer was Erasmus Wilson (known as the Quiet Observer or Q.O.) Nellie’s letter grabbed the attention of the paper’s managing editor, George Madden, who then offered her a position. She later published a book about the experience titled: “Around the World in 72 Days” in 1890.
So don’t you DARE tell me Katherine Plumber wasn’t a vital asset to these boy’s story. She’s more of an inspiration to me than ANY character I’ve read about. Nellie Bly is an inspiration who makes me want a writing career. I am very much like Katherine (in more ways than just having power bangs) and because of her I’ve learned to love myself. Because of her I can get through days when I’ve got a shit ton of Senior year homework knocking me down. Because of her I’m happier. Katherine and Nellie are huge inspirations to me and if you hate either one of them just unfollow me now. Because these two are my role models and always will be❤


Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Jane Cochran, above) was a 23-year-old journalist without a job when she walked into the offices of Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World in 1887 and was given the daunting assignment of exposing the horrors of the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum. She rehearsed feverishly. She played mad. “Undoubtedly demented… a hopeless case,” said one of the doctors who admitted her. But inside the asylum she chronicled the awful food and awful conditions that spurred reform. A brilliant reporter; a brilliant example. xx

Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864 – January 27, 1922) was the pen name of American journalist Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman. She was also a writer, industrialist, inventor, and a charity worker who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism.

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly (1864-1922) was the pen name of American journalist Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman. She was also a writer, industrialist, inventor, and a charity worker who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism. [x]


January 25th 1890: Nellie Bly completes her round-the-world journey

On this day in 1890, pioneering American journalist Nellie Bly completed a 72 day round-the-world trip. Born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864, Bly had little formal schooling, and ran a boarding house in Pittsburgh with her widowed mother. When she was 18, Bly sent a fierce response letter to an editorial in a local paper entitled ‘What Girls are Good For’, which claimed that working women were a ‘monstrosity’ and women should remain in the home. The paper’s editor was so impressed by her rebuttal that they offered her a job; it was at this point that she adopted the pen name ‘Nellie Bly’. Bly made a name for herself through her eloquent advocacy for women’s rights and her investigative journalism, which took her to Pittsburgh slums and Mexican villages. By 1887, Bly had outgrown Pittsburgh and took a job working for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. She continued her interest in feminist issues, interviewing activists like Susan B. Anthony and anarchist Emma Goldman. Building on her previous undercover experience (she had posed as a sweatshop worker to expose poor working conditions) Bly sought to expose the treatment of patients in an infamous New York mental institution. She did so by going undercover as a mental patient, feigning insanity and living in the asylum for 10 days; her exposé shocked readers with its account of neglect and physical abuse. Bly worked closely with the subsequent investigation, and helped secure increased mental health funding and regulations. In 1889, inspired by Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, Bly was tasked by her newspaper with beating the fictional record. Travelling primarily by boat and train, after 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds, Bly set a world record for traversing the globe. She returned on January 25th 1890, stepping off a train in New Jersey to cheering crowds. While she was soon beaten by George Francis Train, the feat made Nellie Bly an internationally-famous figure. She married a millionaire industrialist in 1895 and soon retired from journalism, becoming president of Iron Clad Manufacturing Co. upon her husband’s death and inventing several devices for the business. Nellie Bly died in January 1922, aged 57, but is remembered today for her outstanding achievements, which paved the way for women in journalism.

Today’s historical woman is Elizabeth Jane Cochran also known as Nellie Bly.

Nellie Bly was a groundbreaking investigative reporter. She was a ground-breaking reporter known for a record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within.

She got her start at the Pittsburgh Dispatch after writing an anonymous letter countering a misogynistic article titled “What Pittsburg Women are Good For”. The editor of the Dispatch was so impressed with her writing that he employed her as a reporter for the newspaper. As it was common for women to have pen names at the time, Elizabeth Cochran rebranded herself as Nellie Bly.

Bly is most well known for expose on the conditions of mental hospitals in 1887. She practiced deranged expressions for one night only.The next day she was examined by several doctors, all of which declared her insane. She was then admitted to Bellevue Hospital. Where she witnessed first hand the conditions of the hospital.

The food consisted of gruel broth, spoiled beef, bread that was little more than dried dough, and dirty undrinkable water. The dangerous patients were tied together with ropes. The patients were made to sit for much of each day on hard benches with scant protection from the cold. Waste was all around the eating places. Rats crawled all around the hospital. The bathwater was frigid, and buckets of it were poured over their heads. The nurses were obnoxious and abusive, telling the patients to shut up, and beating them if they did not.

After ten days, Bly was released from the asylum. Her report, later published in book form as Ten Days in a Mad-House, caused a sensation. While embarrassed physicians and staff fumbled to explain how so many professionals had been fooled, a grand jury launched its own investigation into conditions at the asylum. The jury’s report recommended the changes Bly had proposed, and its call for increased funds for care of the insane prompted an $850,000 increase in the budget of the Department of Public Charities and Corrections. They also made sure that future examinations were more thorough so that only the seriously ill went to the asylum.

“I always had a desire to know asylum life more thoroughly - a desire to be convinced that the most helpless of God’s creatures, the insane, were cared for kindly and properly”.

Nellie Bly (1864-1922)


Today marks the 70th anniversary of the deactivation of the WASP program.

Elizabeth “Betty” Maxine Chambers was a young mother and a widow. Betty’s husband, Army pilot Lieutenant Robert William Chambers, died in 1942 when his P-38F Lightening aircraft crashed at Mills Field in San Mateo, California.

Undaunted, Betty applied to be among the first female pilots in the newly formed Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program. This innovative civilian program was designed to employ women to ferry wartime aircraft, serve as flight instructors, tow targets for live anti-aircraft practice, transport cargo, and fly experimental aircraft. These female pilots relieved men from domestic duties so they could fight overseas in the war.

The women were trained as rigorously as military pilots and were paid at a rate of $1,800 per year. Successful trainees were be stationed at one of 120 air bases, paid $3,000 per year, and reclassified as civilian pilots.

Like the majority of her fellow pilots, Betty Chambers received her training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. After training, Betty was sent to Turner Field in Albany, Georgia, then attended the Army Air Force Tactical School in Orlando, Florida. She was later stationed at Greenwood Army Air Field in Greenwood, Mississippi.

As male pilots returned from wartime service, WASP members in service at the end of 1944 were forced to resign.Men wanted to fly domestically and the country wanted women back at home to take care of their families.

Betty Chambers was among the  women whose service ended when the WASP program was disbanded.

On November 2, 1977, President Jimmy Carter passed Public Law 95-202, which granted military veteran status to all who served under the WASP program. In 2009, the highest medal awarded to civilians—the Congressional Gold Medal—was bestowed upon the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Betty’s photograph (seen here) comes from her official personnel folders (OPFs).The National Archives at St. Louis maintains the civilian WASP (OPFs).

The administrative paperwork in these files reveals story after story of WASP adventures and history. OPFs are open to the public and photocopies of OPFs can be obtained for a fee. Please visit http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/civilian-personnel-archival/ for more information.

 Elizabeth ​"Betty" Maxine Chambers, WASP Class of 44-W-3, from her OPF, National Archives in St. Louis.

Telegram from Jacqueline Cochran summoning Elizabeth Chambers to WASP duty, from her OPF, National Archives in St. Louis.


This is the trailer to 10 Days in a Madhouse, a movie which follows the historical adventures of journalist Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochrane). Bly’s undercover reporting on the horrific conditions of an insane asylum - for which she was trapped inside for 10 days without help - were some of the most important reporting of her day. At last we get a movie commemorating that.

Years after this movie takes place, Bly once again made history by speeding around the world in faster than 80 days – in a race against another female reporter, Elisabeth Bisland, who was doing the same!

It’s in theaters now, I believe, but appears to be in limited release.

(and yes, both Bly and Bisland are on the list)

19th century journalist Elizabeth Cochran used the name Nellie Bly when she authored the book Ten Days In The Madhouse. It is the first work of undercover journalism. She feigned insanity so that she could investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.


For those of you who don’t know, Elizabeth Cochrane, also known as Nellie Bly, was a journalist in the late 19th century who convinced people she was insane so that she could infiltrate and write an expose on the horrific conditions of the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island, New York, in 1887.

Basically, in my opinion as a girl with a history degree, PROF COCHRANE SHOULD GIVE LAURA HER A ON THE GROUNDS THAT SHE’S BEING A BLOODY HYPOCRITE

(ok, maybe not a hypocrite exactly, as there was no rescuing involved in Cochrane’s exploits, but come on)

Today in Women's Herstory...


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NOVEMBER 14, 1889:  Journalist Elizabeth Cochran sails around the world in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds.  Elizabeth Cochran, also known as Nellie Bly, began her 24,899 mile journey on November 14, 1889 at 9:40:30 AM.  She boarded a Hamburg-American Company liner named Augusta. The supplies she brought with her included:  the dress she was wearing, a sturdy overcoat, several changes of underwear, and a small travel bag of toiletries.  She carried her money in a bag tied around her neck.  Her experiences and stories from her travels were published daily in World and were read by many.  Her adventure took her through places including:  England, France, Brindisi, Suez Canal, Colombo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.  Her trip ended in New Jersey on January 25, 1890 at 3:51 PM.  People celebrated her arrival home with firework displays, parades, and music.

Oh my god Mrs. Cochran going under cover as Nelly, Elizabeth Cochran Seaman was a woman who invented investigative journalism. She pretended to be a mental patient in an asylum, and uncovered systematic abuse of the mentally ill, experiencing it all herself. Her findings didn’t just spark a nationwide discussion, they completely revamped the US’s mental health policies

Her pen name? Nelly Bly. And according to Laura, she was an “academic zombie” raised to save on faculty salary. Laura had Nelly Bly giver her an A