Nellie Bly, the pioneering investigative journalist who faked insanity to write about an asylum and traveled around the world in a record 72 days, is being remembered on her 151st birthday on the most-visited Web page in the world. Google made a "Google Doodle" in her honor, along with a song from Karen O, lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Born in Pittsburgh on May 5, 1864, Bly is regarded today as one of the most important journalists of her generation. She captured the world's attention in 1889 when, inspired by Jules Verne's “Around the World in 80 Days,” she departed from Hoboken, New Jersey, only to return to New York City 72 days later. She later became a champion of the American poor, pushing for housing reform in urban slums and was once ejected from Mexico upon exposing government corruption.
Bly -- real name Elizabeth Jane Cochrane -- was initially told she couldn't go on a trip around the world because an editor said she would need a chaperone, and because of the assumption that she would bring too many bags.
“Someone's got to stand up and tell them what a girl is good for,” goes Karen O's song, located on Google's front page Tuesday. “Nellie, take us all around the world and break those rules 'cause your our girl ... We've got to speak up for the ones who've been told to shut up.”
Bly retired from journalism at age 31 and took charge of her husband's Iron Clad Manufacturing Co., which made steel containers. She died of pneumonia in 1922 in New York City, but only after paving the way for other early important female writers like Ida Tarbell and Marion Carpenter.
The Google Doodle is embedded below: