Nellie Bly

1637 Words7 Pages
Today, not many Americans will recognize the name Nellie Bly when heard, but things were much different 100 years ago. It would have been very difficult to find any American that had not heard of the famous Nellie Bly. Nellie Bly burst on the scene at the turn of the century when journalism was considered only a man's world. Nellie Bly helped to launch a new kind of investigative journalism into the world.

Elizabeth Jane Cochran was born on May 5, 1864 in Cochran Mills, Pennsylvania. She was the thirteenth child of her family and considered the most rebellious of the family. When Nellie was just six years old her father abruptly died, leaving her mother to raise fifteen children. (Around the World in 72 Days). The death of her father was a terrible financial blow to the family because her father left no will to protect the family's interests. A year after the death the family was forced to auction off the mansion and move to a more modest home. Nellie helped her mother take care of the other children, but still they came into very hard times. (Around the World in 72 Days). Elizabeth's mother desperately sought financial security so she remarried. She entered a very disastrous marriage to an abusive man. He often beat Elizabeth and her mother. Soon after the marriage began she sued for divorce and Elizabeth testified at the trial. "My stepfather has been generally drunk since he married my mother, When drunk he is very cross and cross when sober." (Around the World in 72 Days). Elizabeth soon sought an independent life and wanted a way to support her mother. She started attending the Indiana Normal School to become a teacher. While attending school Elizabeth decided to add an ‘e' to her last name for sophistication. (Nellie Bly, Wikipedia). After one semester of schooling Elizabeth had to drop out because she didn't have enough money to continue schooling. Elizabeth then moved back to Pittsburgh with her mother. She stayed there for the next seven years but had a difficult time finding full-time work because there were only low paid jobs available to women at that time. (Nellie Bly, USA History).

Elizabeth always had the dream of becoming a writer one day, she did not realize however just how close she was to reaching her long held dream.
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