25 Jan: The Nellie Bly Express

Pioneering journalist Nellie Bly returned from her 72-day trip around the world on 25th January, 1890. The final leg of the journey was upon a chartered train to New Jersey, nicknamed ‘the Nellie Bly Express’, and Bly was greeted by adoring fans as she traversed the country.

Inspired by Jules Verne’s novel, Bly had a year earlier pitched to her editors at The World that she should be given the opportunity to try and travel the globe in under 80 days – but they’d felt it was a journey only a man could undertake.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how – unbeknownst to Bly – the challenge had actually become a RACE against Cosmopolitan writer Elizabeth Bisland; trace the origins of Bly’s inspirational ‘stunt girl’ reporting; and pry into the contents of Bly’s well-traveled suitcase… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Nellie Bly’s Record-Breaking Trip Around the World Was, to Her Surprise, A Race’ (Smithsonian Magazine, 2016): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/nellie-blys-record-breaking-trip-around-world-was-to-her-surprise-race-180957910/

• ‘Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, by Nellie Bly’ (THE PICTORIAL WEEKLIES COMPANY, 1890): http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/bly/world/world.html

• ‘Journalist Nellie Bly begins her trip around the world in 80 days’ (WUSA9news, 2022):

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