Nellie Bly: Around the World in 72 Days

January 25, 1890 Nellie Bly, born Elizabeth Cochran, completed her trip around the world, beating the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days record by completing the trip in just 72 days. At the age of 20-years-old, Nellie was hired as a writer for the Pittsburgh Dispatch after writing an angry letter to the editor who liked her writing so much he offered her a job. She officially adopted the name Nellie Bly and became a reporter, covering stories about the slum life of Pittsburgh, the lives of working class women, and other pressing issues of the time, even traveling to Mexico to report on the corruption there and conditions of the poor.

Her reporting took her into asylums, sweatshops, jails and more to report on the conditions there and eventually led to her challenging herself to travel around the world in less than eighty days. Reporters feverishly followed the story and the New York World, the journal she worked for at the time, even offered a guessing contest which would award a trip to Europe for the person who was closest to guessing her actual time.

Nellie Bly completed her journey around the world using every mode of transportation, finishing the trip by taking a train from San Francisco to New York. She was warmly welcomed at every stop and her name has since become synonymous with expert journalism.