Friday, January 28, 2011

Nellie Bly - 10 Important Women in History #3

Nellie Bly (1864-1922) is a fascinating women who I'm ashamed to say I knew nothing about before this week. She was an investigative journalist who wrote on controversial issues such as the plight of immigrants, women, and factory workers. She went undercover as a patient in a mental institution on Blackwell Island for 10 days, and returned to write her shocking piece chronicling the experience, which inspired reforms in New York's mental institutions. I chose her as #3 in my list of 10 Women in History Illustrated.

She was born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane but chose the new pen name based on a Stephen Foster song. She went to boarding school for only one semester and dropped out due to lack of funds. After moving to New York, she wrote for several publications and became a well known reporter. In 1889, Bly made her famous record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, challenging the fictional hero of Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days."

Her books and articles include "Around the World in 72 Days," "Ten Days in a Mad House," "Working Girls Beware," "Are You An Anarchist?" and many more which can all be downloaded here

Illustration by me. #3 colored pencil

(The list of Women in History is in no special order. It is about whoever is inspiring me this week. Also I'm behind in my goal of finishing all these illustrations by January 1st, due to being so busy last fall. I hope to do one per week from here on out in hopes of seeing drawing improvement and to get my skills up to par! )

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