The woman who would later take on the pen name Nellie Bly and help launch a new kind of investigative journalism was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran on May 5, 1864 in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania.
She pretended to be insane to get herself admitted to Blackwell Island (an insane asylum for women) to write an exposé on the horrible conditions there. Her write up was so explosive that it actually led to a reformation of the policies at the asylum and a huge increase in funding for care of the mentally ill.
Inspired by Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days”, she attempted to travel the world by ship, train and burro. She returned back to New York in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes as a celebrity, cheered by crowds of men and women.
Source: Ultra Facts