Not all her journalism dealt with serious social reforms, and she is best remembered today for an around-the-world voyage promoted by her newspaper, the New York Evening World.
Seeking to travel faster than the characters in the Jules Verne novel Around the World In Eighty Days, Bly left New York City on November 14, 1889, on a steamship bound for England. She kept moving, filing dispatches by telegraph from England, France, Italy, and onward across the globe.
In America, readers paid close attention as she continued to report from India, Hong Kong, and Japan. She sailed across the Pacific, set foot in California in January, and within 90 minutes had embarked on a cross-country railroad journey.
Amazingly, Nellie Bly made it back to New York City on January 25, 1890. The New York Evening World triumphantly printed a headline: "The Globe Girdled In 72 Days 6 Hours 11 Minutes."
This week in Newspaper Sunday we look at reports from Nellie Bly's trip around the world.
Note: The links below lead to excerpts of newspaper articles at the Chronicling America archive at the Library of Congress. To view the entire page of the newspaper, click the "persistent link" on the excerpt page.
- New York Evening World, November 15, 1889, 2 p.m. Special: Nellie Bly's departure was announced with the headline "30,000 Mile Race."
- New York Evening World, December 18, 1889: Her paper reported "Nellie Bly is on time" as she reached India.
- New York Evening World, December 24, 1889: "The bright little lady stepped ashore at Hong Kong yesterday," read a telegraphed dispatch on the front page on Christmas Eve, 1889.
- New York Evening World, December 28, 1889: Nellie Bly sailed from Hong Kong, bound for Yokohama, Japan, and then onward to America.
- New York Evening World, January 22, 1890: After sailing through the Golden Gate, Nellie Bly was on a train bound for the East Coast within 90 minutes.
- New York Evening World, January 25, 1890, 2 p.m. Extra: "Home To-Day" proclaimed the headline announcing Nellie Bly's imminent arrival back in New York City.
- New York Evening World, January 25, 1890, final edition: A front-page item headlined "Itinerary Beaten" detailed how Nellie Bly had circled the globe ahead of schedule.
- New York Evening World, January 25, 1890, Nellie Bly Extra: In a special edition of the World, a large front-page cartoon depicted the journey.
More: Biography of Nellie Bly
Illustration: Nellie Bly/Getty Images