25 January 2015: 125 years since Nellie Bly Won World Race

“I took off my cap and wanted to yell with the crowd, not because I had gone around the world in 72 days, but because I was home again.”

Nellie crossed the Hudson River to Manhattan after winning the world race.

Nellie crossed the Hudson River from Jersey City to Manhattan after winning the world race.

At 3.51 p.m. on 25 January 1890, journalist Nellie Bly completed her epic travels. Her train pulled into Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, signalling the finale of the world journey she completed in  72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes. She had raced through a ‘man’s world’ –  alone and literally with the clothes on her back — to beat the fictional record set by Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg. She was said to be the most famous woman in the world that day. After crossing three oceans and four continents, she ended her journey with a ‘flying trip’ by train across America.

“I only remember my trip across the continent as one maze of happy greetings, happy wishes, congratulations, telegrams, fruit, flowers, loud cheers, wild hurrahs, rapid hand-shaking and a beautiful car filled with fragrant flowers attached to a swift engine that was tearing like mad through flower-dotted valley and over snow-tipped mountain on-on-on! It was glorious!” she wrote.

At stations across America, enormous crowds gathered to cheer Nellie on:Fresno, Topeka, Dodge City, Kansas City, Chicago, Columbus, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia…

Throngs of people were cheering Nellie Bly as her carriage travelled up Cortlandt Street to Broadway.

Throngs of people were cheering Nellie Bly as her carriage travelled up Cortlandt Street to Broadway.

At her final destination, Jersey City, “the station was packed with thousands of people and the moment I landed on the platform, one yell went up from them…and the cannons at the Battery and Fort Greene boomed out the news of my arrival,” wrote Nellie. “From Jersey to Jersey is around the world and I am in Jersey now.”

Today she is best known for her record-breaking journey. But even more importantly, Nellie Bly pioneered investigative journalism and paved the way for female reporters.

Let’s pay tribute to the courage and determination of Nellie Bly on the 125th anniversary of the day she stepped off the train in Jersey City … and into history.

This toolkit provides material you can use on Twitter and Facebook to celebrate Nellie’s triumph.

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6 comments

  1. Ms. Brown–your story–and Nellie’s–was covered in our Pitsburgh Post Gazette today. It was fascinating. Thank you for introducing me to one of our own Pittsburgher’s and for you interesting story. When can we expect a book?? Looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My name is Jackie Marchi and I am a junior at Saint Joseph High School northeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each year, students are encouraged to participate in the National History Day Competition in downtown Pittsburgh. This year, two of my classmates and I have chosen to do a project on Nellie Bly since the theme of the competition is “Leadership and Legacy”. We believe Nellie Bly was a pioneer of investigative journalism and challenged social constraints in a primarily male dominant era. After reading about your journey and interest in Nellie Bly, we thought it would be perfect to interview you with your knowledge on the topic. If you are interested in answering a few questions, we would be delighted to speak with you further!

    Sincerely,
    Jackie Marchi
    Carly Dinnin
    Maria Hernandez

    Like

  3. My friend and I are also doing a project on Nellie Bly. We will be competing at the state level in Austin, Texas in May. We would like to see if we could interview you as well. We loved your quote about why you wanted your daughter to know heroines like Nellie Bly! We hope we will represent her well!

    Thank you for your consideration.
    Sincerely,
    Danielle Garcia

    Like

    1. Hi Danielle – Great to hear from you. Happy International Women’s Day (IWD). You won’t be surprised to know that Nellie is in the news for IWD, even in England. She was named by one of our leading newspapers as one of the top 10 best feminists. I would be happy to be interviewed. Skype is great for this if you have it. That’s how Jackie, Carly and Maria (below) and I worked. You can email me directly on rosemary@canonburypark.plus.com.
      Best wishes
      Rosemary

      Like

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