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Women of the Hall

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Year Honored: 1998
Birth: 1864 - Death: 1922
Born In: Pennsylvania, United States of America
Died In: New York, United States of America
Achievements: Arts
Educated In: Pennsylvania
Schools Attended:
Worked In: Pennsylvania, New York, California

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Elizabeth Jane Cochran (Nellie Bly)

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." After her husband's death in 1905, she took over his failing industries, introduced the steel barrel to the distilling process, and made the companies a huge success. For almost ten years, she ran two multi-million dollar companies. More importantly, she recognized the value of treating her workers well. Her plants were social experiments, with physical fitness programs, health care, and libraries to teach employees how to read. Later trapped in Europe while World War I broke out, she covered the war as a reporter again. Bly was a model of achievement for women.
Additional Sources:

Davidson, Sue. Getting the Real Story: Nellie Bly and Ida B. Wells. Seal Press Feminist Pub., 1992. NOTES: Part of ""Women Who Dared"" series.

Fritz, Arthur & Tri. Nellie Bly Online. 2010. www.nellieblyonline.com.

Kroeger, Brooke. Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist. Times Books/ Random House, 1994. Reissued April 1995.

Edited by: Jason Marks. Around the World in 72 Days. 2nd ed. Sterling House Pub., 1999. Originally published as:Nellie Bly's Book. Around the World in 72 Days. New York: The Pictorial weeklies company, 1890.

Papers of Frank George Carpenter 1845-1917, 1 box. Includes letters from Cochrane. Smith College, Sophia Smith Collection, William Allan Neilson Library. Northampton, Massachusetts.