04 March 2013

Pluck and petticoats

This wonderful book arrived on my doorstep this weekend,
through the generosity of a dear friend.

Nellie Bly
Nellie Bly on her travels
 As a journalist for The New York World, Nellie Bly set out to recreate the "round the world" journey that Phileas Fogg undertook in Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 DaysBorn Elizabeth Jane Cochran in Pennsylvania, Bly made the trip in 72 days in 1890, beating Fogg's record by eight days. "She brought with her the dress she was wearing, a sturdy overcoat, several changes of underwear and a small travel bag carrying her toiletry essentials. She carried most of her money in a bag tied round her neck." 

Elizabeth Bisland
Elizabeth Bisland on her travels
 Not to be outdone, the New York Cosmopolitan decided to send its own reporter, Louisiana native Elizabeth Bisland. (Bisland reportedly left within 6 hours of being asked!?)  Pitting Bisland against Bly apparently kept people reading their newspapers for months, wagering which of the two women might win and whether either could beat the fictitious Fogg's time. Although Bly won the race, Bisland put forth a respectable effort, besting Mr. Fogg by three and one half days.

Mr. Phileas Fogg

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