Nellie Bly of The New York World

Reportage

Description

A gathering of the undercover and experiential reporting of Elizabeth Cochrane, later Seaman, who wrote under the pen name of Nellie Bly.

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Newspaper, Book

Effects and Outcomes

It was Bly's handful of undercover pieces for the New York World from 1887 to 1889, starting with her madhouse exposé, that made her a journalistic legend. She also did interviews (Emma Goldman), features, extensive reportage on the Pullman Strike, and even spent a couple of years as a columnist under the leadership of her old friend Arthur Brisbane, for the New York Evening Journal.

Articles, Books, Video/Film

  • I - "Behind Asylum Bars" - Nellie Bly - New York World | The Mystery of the Unknown Insane Girl; Remarkable Story of the Successful Impersonation of Insanity; How Nellie Brown Deceived Judges, Reporters and Medical Experts; She Tells Her Story of How She Passed at Bellevue Hospital; Studying the Role of Insanity Before Her Mirror and Practicing It at the Temporary Home for Women; Arrested and Brought Before Judge Duffy; He Declares She is Some Mother's Darling and Resembles His Sister; Committed to the Care of the Physicians for the Insane at Bellevue; Experts Declare Her Demented; Harsh Treatment of the Insane at Bellevue; "Charity Patients Should Not Complain"; Vivid Pictures of Hospital Life; How Our Esteemed Contemporaries Have Followed a False Trail; Some Needed LIght Afforded Them; Chapters of Absorbing Interest in the Experience of a Feminine "Amateur Casual."

    October 9, 1887
    The first in Bly's two-part series on her experiences incarcerated for 10 days in the women's lunatic asylum on ...
  • II - "Inside the Madhouse" - Nellie Bly - New York World | II - "Nellie Bly's Experience in the Blackwell's Island Asylum; Continuation of the Story of Ten Days with Lunatics; How the City's Unfortunate Wards Are Fed and Treated; The Terrors of Cold Baths and Cruel, Unsympathetic Nurses; Attendants Who Harass and Abuse Patients and Laugh at Their Miseries"

    October 16, 1887
    Part II of Bly's report on her 10 days incarcerated in the women's lunatic asylum on Blackwell's Island.
  • III-Followup: "UnTruths in Every Line" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Contradicts a Recent Article in The Sun; She Gives Many Additional Facts About Her Remarkable Sojourn on Blackwell's Island; More Praise for Dr. Ingram; He Is the Right Man in the Right Place; The Other Doctors Heartless and Careless

    October 17, 1887
  • IV-Reaction: Behind Asylum Bars: "Some of the Doctors Deny It" - Unsigned - New York World | Nellie Bly's Story Has ... Impression on Commissioners

    October 17, 1887
  • "What Becomes of Babies?" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Hundreds and Hundreds of Little Ones Given Away Yearly; Met the Petted Darlings of the Rich, But the Infants Born to Shame; These Are the Ones That Are Given to Alien Hand; Regular Traffic in New-Born Babes; A Money-Making Trade in Humanity 'th

    November 6, 1887
    Bly poses as a woman in pursuit of a baby to buy in an exposé of the baby-buying trade.
  • "Wanted - A Few Husbands" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly's Strange Experience at a Noted Matrimonial Agency

    December 4, 1887
    Bly tours New York's matrimonial agencies in ostensible search of a husband.
  • "Visiting the Dispensaries" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Narrowly Escapes Having Her Tonsils Amputated; Treated as a Charity Patient in the Throat, Skin and Ear Infirmaries; She Joins the Throngs of Poor Invalids and Finds Out How Free Medical Aid Is Dispensed; One Brusque Old Doctor Probes Her Throat and Nose and Wants to Perform an Operation; A Young Physician Tells Her Never to Wash Her Face With Soap; The Druggists' Big Profits; What She Saw and Heard

    December 2, 1888
    Nellie investigates the city's dispensaries for charity patients who are sick.
  • "Nellie Bly as a Mesmerist" - Nellie Bly - New York World | The Strange and Awful Experience of a Certain Mr. Gray

    March 25, 1888
  • "Trying to Be a Servant" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly's Strange Experiences at Two Employment Agencies

    October 30, 1887
    Bly investigates the employment agencies that place domestic servants.
  • "The Girls Who Make Boxes" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Tells How It Feels to Be a White Slave; She Tries Her Hand at Making Paper Boxes; Difficulty in Getting a Job; Most Work Two Weeks for Nothing; After One Learns the Trade It Is Hard to Earn a Living; A Fair Picture of the Work

    November 27, 1887
  • "Nellie Bly on the Stage" - Nellie Bly - New York World | She Wears a Scant Costume; Marches with the Amazons

    March 4, 1888
    Bly writes about her turn on the stage as a member of the dancing chorus line for "The Amazon March."
  • "Shadowed by a Detective" - Nellie Bly - New York World | "Nellie Bly Makes a Test of the Private Spy Nuisance"

    April 28, 1889
  • "In the Magdalen Home" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly's Visit to an Institution for Unfortunate Women; A Wicked Girl's Chances for Reformation — How Poor Creatures Abuse a Noble Charity-Matron Burr's Experiences — The Girl Who Befriended an Unlucky Cat — The Toboggan Slide of Sin

    February 12, 1888
  • "In the Biggest New York Tenement" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Spends the Two Hottest Days of the Year in the Largest "Double Decker" in Town; 3,532 People in the Block; One Family Occupying Only Three Rooms Have Eight Boarders and Lodgers; Sleeping on the Fire-Escapes; No Scenes of Disturbance or DIsorder Among the Throngs of Over-Crowded Tenants; Strange Phases of Life in a Big City; An Interesting Chat with the Janitress of the Big Double-Decker Tenement House

    August 5, 1894
    Bly spends the hottest nights of the year in New York's biggest tenement apartment.
  • "Nellie Bly a Prisoner" - Nellie Bly - New York World | "She Has Herself Arrested to Gain Entrance to a Station-House"

    February 24, 1889
    Bly gets herself arrested to experience life for a woman in jail.
  • "Learning Ballet Dancing" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly in Short Gauze Skirts Kicks at a Mark

    December 18, 1887
  • "Nellie Bly Buys a Baby" - Nellie Bly - New York World | An Innocent Child Sold Into Slavery for Ten Dollars; The Appalling Traffic in Human Flesh in New York; Heartless Mothers and Grasping Midwives Who Barter Helpless Children for Money; Shocking Indifference of the Slave-Dealers as to What Becomes of the LIttle Ones-No Questions Asked; A Visit to the Midwife Who Sold the Bogus Hamilton Baby; Startling Facts Which Will Appeal to Every Loving Mother in the Land

    October 6, 1889
    Bly's four-column feature report on the baby-buying trade in New York, including the statement of one woman who ...
  • "Nellie Bly's Doctors: Seven Well-Known Physicians Disagree About Her Case" - Nellie Bly - New York World | "Dyspepsia" Says Dr. Francis Delafield, of No. 12 West 32d Street; "Malaria" Says Dr. Meyer: "All Stomach Trouble," Says Dr. McNutt; "Shattered Nerves," "Defective Eyes" "Neralgia" &c.; And the Doctors Were All Given the Same and Absolutely Truthful Symptoms; An Extraodinary Variety of Prescriptions Written by These Seven Reputable New York Physicians; The Adage that DOctors Disagree Illustrated in a Somewhat Startling Way; What Can Medical Science Say to This? An Article of Peculiar Interest to Everybody

    October 27, 1889
    Bly visits a number of physicians, describes the same symptoms to each and gets a different diagnosis and ...
  • Nellie Bly's "Ten Days in a Madhouse"

    1887
  • "Working Girls Beware!" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Exposes a Snare For Swindling Poor Women; A Contemptible Scheme to Rob Needy Girls Who Seek Employment; Heartless Women Who Promise to Find Work for Scarf-Makers and Lure Them Into Their Clutches; Demanding Pay for Instruction They Never Give, and, After Taking the Last Penny, Turning Them Out With No Effort to Secure Employment; Sad Stories of the Wretched Swindle from the Lips of Helpless Girls and Bereaved MothersthU

    February 3, 1889
    Bly did not go undercover for this one but interviewed the many women writing to the World to tell of their misfortune.
  • Behind Asylum Bars-Followup: "THE WORLD Their Savior" - Unsigned - New York World | How Nellie Bly's Work Will Help the City's Insane; Her Stories of the Treatment of Patients on Blackwell's Island Induce the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to Grant More Money to the Charity Commissioners - The Mayor Warns Dr. McDonald

    October 28, 1887
  • Behind Asylum Bars Reaction: "Nellie Bly Led the Way" - Unsigned - New York World | The Grand Jury Reports on Abuses at Blackwell's Island Asylum; Its Eyes Opened by THE WORLD's Account of the Horrors of the Place - Condemning the Junior Physicians and the Nurses as Incompetent - Recommending the Employment of Female Doctors

    November 3, 1887
  • Reaction: "Who Is This Insane Girl?" - Unsigned - New York Sun | She Is Pretty, Well Dressed and Speaks Spanish; She Wandered into Matron Stenard's Home for Women and Asked for a Pistol to Protect Herself

    September 25, 1887
    The Sun's reporter, as well as reporters from other of the World's competitors, encounters the mysterious insane girl.
  • Reaction: "Playing Madwoman"- Unsigned - New York Sun | Nellie Bly Too Sharp for Island Doctors; Nine Days in Calico; The Sun Finishes Up Its Story of the 'Pretty Crazy Girl'

    October 14, 1887
    The New York Sun attempts to steal a march on the New York World's scoop after Nellie Bly's ten-days in the women's ...
  • Reaction: "Nellie Brown—Memory Still Gone" - Unsigned - New York Sun | No One Claims the Pretty Crazy Girl at Bellevue

    September 26, 1887
    More follow-up from the World's competitors on the mysterious insane girl.
  • Follow-up: "Playing MadWoman" - Unsigned - New York Sun | Nellie Bly Too Sharp for Island Doctors; Nine Days Life in Calico; The Sun Finishes Up Its Story of the "Pretty Crazy Girl"; Questioned, Prescribed for, Locked in a Bare Cell Every Night; Uniformed in Furniture Goods; Bathed by Alien Hands; Washed Regularly Without Her Own Hands After Every Meal of Coarse Food; Silly and Uncouth Companions in Whose Childish Pleasure She Did Not Join; Her Deception Successful; Incidents of Her Adventure and Official Accounts of It

    October 14, 1887
  • Reaction: "Nelly Marina or Brown" - Unsigned - New York Sun | She Tells a Little About Herself, but is a Mystery Yet

    October 5, 1887
    More coverage by the World's competitors of the mysterious insane girl.
  • Reaction: "Friends Claim Nellie Marena" - Unsigned - New York Sun

    October 7, 1887
    more coverage by the World's competitors of the mysterious insane girl.
  • I-"The King of the Lobby" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Edward R. Phelps Caught in a Neatly Laid Trap; Nellie Bly's Interesting Experience in Albany; How the Lobby King Contracts to Kill Bills for Cash; Dealing with Legislators as with Purchasable Chattels; Phelps Furnishes 'The World' with a List of Assembly Commissioners Who Are Bribable; His Agreement to Kill Assembly Bill No. 191 for $5,000; Afterwards Concludes to Take Less; The Check to Be Made Out to His Side Partner, J.W. Chesbrough; "I Have Control of the House and Can Pass or Kill Any Bill"; A Revelation of Baseness that Should Fill the State with Indignation; The Watch Here

    April 1, 1888
    Bly's expose of Albany's Lobby King, Edward Phelps, by posing as a prospective client who, on behalf of her ...
  • "The Nellie Brown Mystery" - Unsigned - New York World | Her Story as Told from Day to Day by the City Newspapers; From the Sun, Sunday, Sept 25, WHO IS THIS INSANE GIRL? She Is Pretty, Well Dressed and Speaks Spanish; She Wandered Into Matron Stenard's Home for Women and Asked for a Pistol to Protect Herself; Is Her Name Marina?

    October 9, 1887
    The New York World reprints an article from the Sept. 25, 1887 New York Sun as well as reporting from the city's ...
  • "'Nellie Brown's' Story" - Unsigned - New York World | The Widespread Interest Caused by "The World's" Publication; Her Sad Experience the Talk of the Town; Its Truthfulness Acknowledged at Bellevue; Nurses and Doctors Admit They Were Deceived; Warden O'Rourke's Sagacity; The Ambulance Surgeon Explains

    October 10, 1887
  • "Why Don't Women Reform?" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Asks This Question of Police Court Prisoners; She Spends a Day at Jefferson Market Court and Jail

    June 17, 1888
  • "The Infamy of the Park" - Nellie Bly -New York World

    August 5, 1888
    Nellie Bly goes undercover to investigate the man in Central Park.
  • "Nellie Bly on the Wing" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Some Things She Saw, Heard and Experienced While Traveling; Saidee Polk Fall's Happy Life at the Famous Polk Homestead-A Bit of Amele Riven's Early History-Peet Riley's Wisdom-Experience with a Southern Quarantine Officer-An Indignant Traveller.

    November 4, 1888
    Nellie Bly overheard many interesting things while traveling.
  • "A Female Usurer's Trick" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Exposes One of the Secrets of a Diamond Shop; Loaning Money Without a License to Actresses and Rich Women

    May 12, 1889
    Nellie Bly exposes how a diamond shop in New York really operates.
  • "Another Wicked Swindle" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Exposes a Fraud in Worthless Washing Machines

    March 31, 1889
    Nellie Bly exposes a laundromat's false advertising.
  • "Jolly at the French Ball" - Nellie Bly - New York World | Nellie Bly Tells of the Frolics and Breeziness After Midnight

    February 10, 1889
    Nellie Bly goes to the French Ball as an investigative journalist, not undercover.
  • "Nellie Bly at West Point" - Nellie Bly - New York World | She Inspects the Tightly Laced Young Cadets at Their Military Maneuvers

    June 9, 1889
    Nellie Bly goes to West Point to "blend" in.
  • "Nellie Bly's 700 Doctors" - Nellie Bly - New York World | A Perfect Army of Wiseacres Come to Her Relief; Queer Ways to Cure That Headache; Her Experience with the Seven Distinguished New York Physicians Interested Everybody All Over the Country-Medicine Enough Received to Stock a Drug Store

    November 10, 1889
    Nellie Bly tells readers how she now has numerous doctors prescribing her medicine for her illness.
  • "With the Prison Matrons" - Nellie Bly - New York World | They Tell Nellie Bly That Women Never Reform

    January 13, 1889
    Nellie Bly goes to prisons and talks to women about why they do not reform.
  • "In and About the City: A Mysterious Waif" - Unsigned - New York Times | Bellevue Shelters a Girl of Whom Nothing Is Known

    September 26, 1887
    The New York World's competitors cover the story of the unknown waif -- actually the World's reporter Nellie Bly -- ...
  • "Still a Mystery: Nellie Mareno's Friends as Silent as She Was Herself" - Unsigned - New York Times

    October 7, 1887
    Nellie Bly continues to fool the New York World's competitors right up to the day before her story unfolded in the ...
  • Behind Asylum Bars-Followup: "THE WORLD Their Savior" - Unsigned - New York World | How Nellie Bly's Work Will Help the City's Insane; Her Stories of the Treatment of Patients on Blackwell's Island Induce the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to Grant More Money to the Charity Commissioners - The Mayor Warns Dr. McDonald

    October 28, 1887
  • "Among the Mad" - Nellie Bly - Godey's Lady's Book

    January 1, 1889
    Bly gives the back story of her madhouse expose.
  • Follow-Up: "New York" - RCS - Philadelphia Medical Times | Incrustation of Tube in Intubation; Insane Asylum Management; Society Notes

    November 15, 1887
    Negative commentary on Nellie Bly's stint in the Asylum for Women on Blackwell's Island.