Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly

Overview

Bylines is the latest title from award-winning biographer Sue Macy. Nellie Bly was a pioneering American journalist who lived by the belief that "Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything." This credo took her from humble origins in Cochran’s Mill, Pennsylvania, a town named after her father, to the most exotic cities around the globe by the time she was 25.

Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864, in an age when many women led unassuming lives. Her...

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Overview

Bylines is the latest title from award-winning biographer Sue Macy. Nellie Bly was a pioneering American journalist who lived by the belief that "Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything." This credo took her from humble origins in Cochran’s Mill, Pennsylvania, a town named after her father, to the most exotic cities around the globe by the time she was 25.

Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864, in an age when many women led unassuming lives. Her life would make people sit up and take notice: When she wasn’t making history herself, she was writing about others who did. Rarely has anyone left a more detailed record of her place in the world than Nellie Bly. In a very public life, she shared her feelings and opinions through her writing and embraced the struggles of all classes of Americans who were fighting for their rights.

The story of the two decades before and after the turn of the 20th century was her story, and she wrote with a powerful pen. Her "stunt journalism" included getting herself committed to an insane asylum for women and circling the globe in a mere 72 days. She profiled leaders from Susan B. Anthony to Eugene V. Debs, exposed corruption, and offered her readers a travelogue that expanded their horizons, even as it made the world a little smaller.

Her words live on even now, and Sue Macy’s masterful biography invites young readers into Nellie Bly’s America, a country at a time of great growth and social change.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This detailed biography of the trailblazing 19th-century journalist incorporates photographs of Bly and her subjects. The extensive text explores the details of a life spent seeking justice, writing about female factory workers and women institutionalized at the Lunatic Asylum on New York’s Blackwell’s Island, as well as her most illustrious stunt, a trip around the world with the promise of completing the journey faster than the hero of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. A thorough introduction to the life of a fascinating figure. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Born in a tiny town in western Pennsylvania just before the Civil War ended, Nellie Bly, nee Elizabeth Jane Cochran, became a popular national heroine before the age of twenty-five when she circumnavigated the globe—by herself—in seventy-two days. Although the name may be vaguely familiar to those of us living today, few will know about the extent of her accomplishments that were predominantly focused on exposing corruption and bettering the lot of the disenfranchised, especially women. She was simply a ground-breaking figure for women in journalism, often going undercover into dangerous situations to spotlight bad situations and advocate for change through her writing. Left in relative poverty by the death of her father at a young age, she worked her way into reporting in Pittsburg, then New York City. During WWI, she was a war correspondent based in Austria. Along the way, she was briefly married to a millionaire and, as a widow, became head of a steel works company. It is a remarkable story about a remarkable woman. As you would expect from National Geographic, it is lavishly illustrated with archival photos and abundantly referenced for follow up investigation. Any school library would benefit from adding this title and it can serve as an inspiration to young female readers and a stimulus to conversation about the history of women in this country. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—The life story of this daring news reporter, globetrotter, and advocate for women's rights is presented chronologically from birth to death. By seamlessly weaving her subject's accomplishments as a national figure with her personal life, Macy offers a masterful account of how Bly and turn-of-the-century American society shaped one another. There is at least one period photo, map, or artifact per spread, as well as several full- and double-page visuals. Insightful captions relate the illustrations to the surrounding text. This meticulously researched and elegantly presented account also provides readers and teachers with a plethora of additional material: a date-by-date time line of Bly's life, museums to visit, and videos to watch. The ample index features just about every supporting character mentioned in the book and uses boldfaced page numbers to indicate illustrations. Pair this book with a read-aloud of Bonnie Christensen's The Daring Nelly Bly (Knopf, 2003) for a riveting classroom discussion of American society, feminism, and journalism.—Rebecca Dash, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Nellie Bly's life was full of derring-do and adventure. At one point, thousands of people followed her every move and wondered what she would try next. But mention this name to young folk today, and a puzzled glance is the likely response. In composed yet passionate prose-not unlike Bly's own-Macy delves into the many escapades of this devoted journalist. From being voluntarily committed to an insane asylum for a story to becoming the only woman allowed to report from the front lines of World War I, Bly never shied away from a challenging assignment. It was her trip around the world in fewer than 80 days, besting the main character from Jules Verne's popular novel, that made her a household name. Complete with full-spread photos, quotes, maps and faded-newsprint backdrops, this attractive package will appeal to young journalists and thrill-seekers alike. (afterword, author's note, timeline, resources, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426305146
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Photobiographies Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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