Born on May 5th 1864 Elizabeth Cochran Seaman or as she was better know journalist Nellie Bly.
Growing up in Pennsylvania as a teenager she knew what she wanted in the future and what career path she was going to take
Her dad died when she was only a teenager and after his death Elizabeth had to help maintain her family and 14 other siblings.
She decided that she wanted to go out and make a difference in the world and wasn’t trapped by dogma by working at home where society had thought women should be.
Elizabeth has read a column called “What Girls Are Good For,” in the Pittsburgh Dispatch newspaper and she got so upset by it she sent a letter to the editor.
George Madden who was the editor at the time for so impressed bu her letter that he ended up asking her to write a piece for the newspaper.
She decided that she would and after George Madden read it he offer her a full time job and gave her the pen name: Nellie Bly
She continued to write articles about women’s rights and issues which was very unusual back then as most articles women use to read were about fashion, society and small house hold and gardening tips.
Elizabeth wrote pieces as an undercover agent about places like sweatshops where women were forced to work in terrible conditions for long hours.
Years later her editor moved her to women’s pages so she decided to leave Pittsburgh in search of better opportunities in the Big Apple ( New York ).
Elizabeth found it very difficult starting out in New York. She was unable to find work for nearly four months. Then she managed to get a job with the New York World newspaper. Her first piece was to do an undercover job at an infamous mental hospital.
Every patient who was admitted to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum hospital on Blackwell’s Island never ended up leaving but there was no other way for Elizabeth to get inside to see what the conditions were like.
The rumours about the hospital were that the employees were very abusive but no patent had ever dared to testify.
After getting a promise that she would be allowed leave after 10 days, She took on one of the most dangerous and hardest projects of her life.
But Elizabeth could never have imagined how bad it was actually going to be until she got inside.
For every two patients in the hospital there was only one room. Most of the meals were just watery broth with dried uncooked bread or even some days just water.
The who place was infested with rats and other small rodents. Elizabeth pretended that she was mentally ill but described the condition of the hospital as so bad that it could easily drive some people to insanity.
She met loads of women who were not actually mentally ill but were just poor and looking for a place to sleep or were unable to speak English.
Lots of the patients were being tied up and beaten and forced to take ice cold showers.
Doctors would not listen to the patients who complained that they were being beaten and abused and if you complained then you were punished.
Then worse of all the women that were actually mentally ill did not get any treatment at all and were left to lie in their rooms suffering.
10 days later a lawyer came to get Elizabeth out of the hospital as promised.
She later published a book called ” Ten Days in a Mad-House “and after its publication the government enacted the changes she recommended and the patients’ situation improved significantly.
Elizabeth became famous around the country. She continued writing very important articles and thanks to her status her articles beginning changing society. She continued writing about politics, poverty and other major issues which women never had any opinion on.
She had inspired thousands of young women before sadly passing away from a stroke aged only 57 in the year 1922.
Two years earlier however she got to witness women finally getting the right to vote.