Nellie Bly, a Journalistic Pioneer and Feminist

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  • Topic: Nellie Bly, Jules Verne, Robert Seaman
  • Pages : 6 (2459 words )
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  • Published : April 16, 2008
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A Journalistic Pioneer and Feminist
Today, rights seem to be nearly equal among men and women. They were not always like this. In fact if all the brave people in the history had not taken the stands they did, the rights many people view as something we were born with may not have been even fathomable in today’s society. There are still large numbers of people who have racist and sexist views, thus limiting certain groups of people from entering an industry, making money, or even fulfilling their dreams. Even though women were given the right to vote in the 1920’s, many women chose not to because of fear and what others might think. This right made a huge difference in the law but it did not change other’s opinions. Job opportunities remained nearly the same. Women writer’s changed their name on their articles to a man’s name so others would read it. Some women changed their name to a different women’s name so that their real identity was still safe. Elizabeth Cochran was a women writer that wanted to start a career in journalism so she picked up the pen name “Nellie Bly” from a Stephan Foster song. Then name Nellie Bly was not to be soon forgotten. Nellie became an extremely influential pioneer in journalism do to her various experiences and relations she had. Nellie Bly’s personal relationships were a basic foundation when it came to her ambitions. Nellie’s mom, Catherine Cochran, had 15 children. Nellie was number 13 born on May 5, 1864 (Kroeger 8). Nellie and Catherine connected the most out of all the children (Kroeger 10). Nellie and her mom both went through many of the same events in their lives. “[Nellie and her mom] went through two marriages…went by names that they we not born with…interested in knowing about other people…” (Kroeger 4). Nellie’s mother taught her children to attract attention (Kroeger 17). Most mothers dressed their children in modest clothes while Catherine chose to dress Nellie in all pink. This quickly led to Nellie acquiring the nickname Pink (Kroeger 5, 9). Catherine traveled everywhere with Nellie. When Bly decided to take a story in Mexico, Catherine was the first to say she is going to accompany her (Kroeger 29). Nellie’s husbands also were great supporters. Nellie’s first husband was a great fan and after their divorce said, “I know I will continue to see your articles in the newspaper…I will always read [them] keep in touch” (Kroeger 127). Bly’s second husband, Robert Seaman, was 40 years older than her and an industrialist who owned the Iron Clad Manufacturing Company. Bly invented the 55-gallon oil drum. This made shipping oil significantly easier and cheaper because of less spills and larger amounts shipped at one time. Because of their occupations their marriage was kept a secret, ultimately throwing off how long they were together and if Nellie had made her invention for Seaman or met him because of it. Seaman eventually died because of old age and Nellie became the owner of the company (Kroeger 81, 256, 478-483). “‘Owned exclusively by Nellie Bly – the only woman in the world personally managing industries of such a magnitude.’ by the New York Evening Journal” (“Remarkable Nellie Bly”). The Iron Clad Manufacturing Company went bankrupt after charges were made of fraud in 1911 (“Remarkable Nellie Bly”). Beside the bankruptcy and the other extravagant things Nellie went through, her personal life was also just as exciting. Personal experiences play a big role in a person’s life. For Nellie Bly these situations were detrimental to her life and many of her opinions. Nellie had an easy start for an 18 year old who never finished school. Her goal was to get rid of female stereotype, prejudice, and impoliteness (Kroeger 192). By doing this she wanted her stories to get more notoriety then Phileas Fogg, a popular fictional writer (Kroeger 371). But to get into the writing industry one must go through writing puff stories. Nellie was a fan of the Pittsburg “Dispatch” and the local...
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