Being the massive history freak that I am, I was stoked out of my mind when I saw today’s Google Doodle (God bless the Internet, honestly) celebrating one of my favorite historical ladies: Nellie Bly. Bly (born Elizabeth) began her career in journalism in the late nineteenth century by adopting a pen name and launching into a new kind of investigative journalism in which she championed the poor and disenfranchised. Defying sexism and poor opportunities for young women at every turn, Bly gained fame and recognition by her distinctly empathetic and critical writing style and her willingness to undergo intense undercover investigations in order to expose corruption and its effects on the nation’s underprivileged.
Her biggest story was her first assignment for Joe Pulitzer’s the New York World, where she posed as a mad woman in a mental asylum in order to expose the horrendous conditions and cruelty the inmates suffered. As if her continued, life-long career of advocacy wasn’t enough, this incredible woman embarked on a world trip in 1889 in order to beat the record set by Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, which she finally did, arriving back in New York City after 72 days.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates what would have been her 151st birthday.