Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nelly Bly


Margie: Today we salute Nelly Bly. I never knew much about her until recently and I found her to be a fascinating lady.

Nelly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran on May 5, 1864 in Cochran's Mills. Pennsylvania.

The town was named for her father, Michael Cochran, a wealthy landowner, judge, and businessman. He had ten children by his first wife then, after she died, he re-married and had five more children, the third of which was Elizabeth, considered the most rebellious child in the family.

Nelly wrote her first story about the difficulties of poor working girls. In her second story, she called for the reform of the state's divorce laws. She then did a series about the factory girls of Pittsburgh. The editors at the newspaper relegated Bly to the women's page and assigned her stories about flower shows and fashion.

In the years ahead, Bly exposed both corruption and the injustice of poverty, revealing shady lobbyists, the ways in which women prisoners were treated by police, the in adequate medical care given to the poor, and much more. The young reporter always sided with the poor and the disenfranchised.

Read her story here.

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