Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864 – January 27, 1922) was the pen name of American journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, a world-famous journalist who made a trip around the world in 72 days in 1889. Nellie Bly was born on May 5, 1864 in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Throughout her life, Nellie defied society’s expectations for women; she questioned everything, and spoke up for the underprivileged, the helpless, and minorities. In addition to her writing, she also was an industrialist, inventor, and charity worker.
At birth she was named Elizabeth Jane Cochran. She was born in “Cochran Mills”, today part of the Pittsburgh suburb of Burrell Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Her father, Michael Cochran, was a modest laborer and mill worker who married Mary Jane. Cochran taught his young children a cogent lesson about the virtues of hard work and determination, buying the local mill and most of the land surrounding his family farmhouse. As a young girl Elizabeth often was called “Pinky” because she so frequently wore the color. As she became a teenager she wanted to portray herself as more sophisticated, and so dropped the nickname and changed her surname to Cochrane. She attended boarding school for one term, but was forced to drop out due to lack of funds.
Born Elizabeth Jane Cochran [ May 5, 1864 ]
Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died January 27, 1922 (aged 57)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Journalist, Novelist, Inventor
Spouse(s) Robert Seaman (m. 1895-1904)
Awards National Women’s Hall of Fame (1998)