The Woman of May: Elizabeth Cochran Seaman by Evan Care

The Woman of May: Elizabeth Cochran Seaman

When Elizabet was 16 years of age, she lived with her family in Pittsburgh. It was 1880, and Elizabeth was smart and bright. The Pittsburgh Dispatch ran an article named "What Girls are Good For," and the writer blatantly said that young ladies were only useful for having babies and keeping houses tidy.



It was common occurence back then to make such statements, yet Elizabeth was irritated. She composed a reaction, which she endorsed as "Desolate Orphan Girl," and sent it to the paper. The manager, George Madden, was intrigued to the point that he ran a notice requesting the writer from the article to recognize herself.

Elizabeth did as such, at Madden request that she compose another article. Elizabeth expounded on what separation meant for ladies around then, and she contended for the change of separation laws. Since pen names more normal than genuine bylines during that time, the editors of the Dispatch concluded that Elizabeth required a ''nom de plume''. Cochran needed it to be Nelly Bly, yet the proofreader in control incorrectly spelled it, giving birth to the Nellie Bly we're so familiar with.


Bly's secret activity uncovering maltreatments at the haven of Blackwell's Island, presently Roosevelt Island, spearheaded a way for ladies in papers and started what is now genuine analytical news coverage. The record by the 23-year-old "young lady investigator" stunned general society with its portrayal of brutality and violence towards the most vulnerable. Now the news-casting pioneer has her own landmark — at the very site she expounded on.