Today, the Liberty Five-Cent Coin remembers when Nellie Bly (a.k.a. Elizabeth Cochrane) began her ’round the world journey starting in New York on November 14, 1889.
From the periodical, The Friend, of November 23, 1889:
Nellie Bly, a correspondent of the New York World, started from that city on the 14th instant, for a journey ’round the world in 75 days.
Every step of her trip has been mapped out, and barring accidents, she will achieve what no man or woman has over yet attempted.
Apart from the picturesque interest which such a trip possesses, it will serve a useful purpose of showing the development of transportation facilities of the world, and also in demonstrating that the unprotected woman can travel around the globe with perfect safety.
Nellie Bly is provided with tickets for her entire trip, and they were all purchased in New York, which is another interesting fact.
She will journey without a trunk, taking only a bag, which she can carry in her hand.
She left on the Augusta Victoria, of the Southampton-Bremen line, will proceed to London, and take, the morning after her arrival, the Indian mail steamer, which goes by the way of the Suez Canal.
She will be due in Hong Kong on the 25th of next month.
The cost of the trip will be about $2,000.
Another periodical, The Railway News, printed the following on February 22, 1890 after she returned:
Around the World in 72 Days and 6 Hours. —
A young woman called “Nellie Bly,” a reporter of the New York World, arrived in Jersey City by the Pennsylvania Railroad at 3.51 p.m., on January 25, having completed a trip round the world in 72 days 6 hours and 11 minutes.
She left New York, November 14, at 9.40 a.m., by the steamship Augusta Victoria for Southampton, arrived there on the 22nd, at 2 a.m., and at London, by the last mail train, at 5.
She left London for Amiens, via Folkestone, at 8 a.m., for a visit to Jules Verne, who some twenty years ago wrote a romance, in which the hero made a circuit of the globe in 80 days, though much of his imaginary trip was by slow conveyances.
Miss Bly reached Calais so as to take the India mail (which left London at 8 p.m. of the 22nd) and arrived at Brindisi on the night of the 24th.
She left there at 2 a.m. by the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Line, and arrived at Ismailia, via the Suez Canal, on the 28th; left Aden December 2, and arrived at Colombo, Ceylon, the 8th.
Her next steamer was a day late, and she left there on the 10th, but arrived at Singapore December 18, on time.
Thence she went to Hong Kong, and arrived on the evening of December 24, a few hours ahead of time.
Here it was necessary to stop until the 28th, and the next stage was to Yokohama.
Arrived at Yokohama January 2; left on the 7th, and reached San Francisco on the morning of the 21st, one day ahead of time.
The Central Pacific being blocked by snow, she started for New York, via Mojave, leaving Oakland, opposite San Francisco, at 9.2 a.m.
She took a special train over the Atlantic and Pacific and the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe, by which Chicago was reached at eight o’clock on the morning of January 24.
From Chicago the trip was made by the regular train over the Chicago St. Louis and Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania.
The aim at the outset was to complete the journey in seventy-five days, and this limit, as will be seen, was beaten by two days seventeen and three-quarter hours.
Miss Bisland, the woman sent westward from New York by the “Cosmopolitan Magazine ” on the same day with Miss Bly, missed connections at one or two points, and was compelled to take a slow steamer from Queenstown, January 19.
So that she was seventy-nine or eighty days in making the circuit of the globe.
Her obituary in the Fourth Estate, A Weekly Newspaper for Publishers, Advertisers, Advertising Agents and Allied Interests of February 4, 1922 expounded on several of her contributions to the news industry, including her ’round the world trip:
Mrs. Robert L. Seaman, fifty-six years old, who under the name of Nellie Bly has been for some years one of the best known of women newspaper writers, died of pneumonia Friday of last week in New York.
Mrs. Seaman probably was the pioneer woman writer to invade the field of sensationalism, and throughout her life she experienced many unusual adventures.
Mrs. Seaman was born at Cochrane’s Mills, Pa. She began newspaper work when a young girl on the Pittsburg Commercial Gazette, under the pen name of Nellie Bly, given her by the late Erasmus Wilson, who helped to make her first work effective.
She adopted the name and had used it ever since, bringing it to New York when she broke into the metropolitan newspaper field.
She wrote under that name for many years, answering love and household questions, and in general devoting her pen to articles dealing with factory girls, corporation scandals and investigations of all sorts.
She spent a week as an inmate of an insane asylum and wrote an expose that caused many reforms.
Her best known feat, however, was a trip around the world in 1889 to better Jules Verne’s eighty days.
She made the trip in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes.
The Liberty Five-Cent Coin shows with a newspaper image showcasing Nellie Bly’s ’round the world trip in 1889-90.