Nellie Bly Research: 1885-1887

In a huge departure from every other novel I've written, I possess large pieces of my protagonist's story in her own words. Not only providing me with facts, this offered me a view of her writing style, choice of words, and growth as a writer. 

Below I have collected several articles by Ms. Bly, as well as a few that served to either inspire or infuriate her. These are all from her years at the Pittsburg Dispatch. While by no means an exhaustive collection of her reporting, it is a good sample. All the files are pdfs.

NB: Written by Nellie Bly, aka Elizabeth Cochrane

QO: Written by The Quiet Observer, aka Erasmus Wilson

BB: Written by Bessie Bramble, aka Elizabeth Wade

The Quiet Observer column that started it all, prompting young Elizabeth Cochrane to write a scathing letter to the editors of the Pittsburg Dispatch.

Dispatch Women's writer Bramble responds to the Q.O.'s offensive take on working women.

Her first written work, probably a variation on her letter to the editor, Bly fights back against the Q.O.'s idea of the life most women live.

The Q. O. returns to defend his views, citing the Bible and woman's natural "weakness."

Bly follows her first piece with a provocative "modest proposal" regarding marriage.

A meandering piece, connecting disparate ideas and pieces of gossip. She's still figuring out how to be a reporter.

Her first real reporting effort, Bly investigates and interviews the women employed at an iron works. 

Continuing the Workshop Girls series, Bly investigates and interviews the women employed at a barbed wire factory.

Continuing the Workshop Girls series, Bly investigates and interviews the women employed at a hinge factory. 

Continuing the Workshop Girls series, Bly investigates and interviews the women employed at boot and shoe factories. 

Bly interviews an opera producer. 

Bly interviews a Civil War colonel. 

Bessie Bramble talks dramatic criticism. 

Bly writes about the state of journalism in Mexico. 

A Dispatch notice about Bly's hasty return from Mexico.

An article praising Mexico, written before her forced flight.

Bly's opinion of Mexico's president, unfettered by fear of reprisals or threats. 

Bly's clever attempt to get hired by a NY paper by interviewing all the top NY editors on their opinion of women journalists. 

Second half of the same article. Many thanks to author Brooke Kroeger for hunting this one down for me. 

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© 2018 by David Blixt.