Nellie Bly Quotes

Born May 05, 1864
Died January 27, 1922

Who on Earth is Nellie Bly?

Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman better known by her pen name, Nellie Bly, was an American journalist.

Bly is widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg.

Nellie Bly also did an exposé in which she worked undercover to report on a mental institution from within called 'Ten Days in a Mad-House'.

Books by Nellie Bly

Best Quotes by Nellie Bly

“A free American girl can accommodate herself to circumstances without the aid of a man.”

Nellie Bly

“A pretty young Hebrew woman spoke so little English I could not get her story except as told by the nurses. They said her name is Sarah Fishbaum, and that her husband put her in the asylum because she had a fondness for other men than himself.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“A stick beats more ugliness into a person than it ever beats out.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“Accept praise for its worth — politeness. Be brutally frank with yourself. It's safer.”

Nellie Bly

“Another thing quite as noticeable, I had more men try to get up a flirtation with me while I was a box-factory girl than I ever had before. The girls were nice in their manners and as polite as ones reared at home. They never forgot to thank one another for the slightest service, and there was quite a little air of “good form” in many of their actions. I have seen many worse girls in much higher positions than the white slaves of New York.”

Nellie Bly

“As I passed a low pavilion, where a crowd of helpless lunatics were confined, I read a motto on the wall, 'While I live I hope'. The absurdity of it struck me forcibly. I would have liked to put above the gates that open to the asylum, 'He who enters here leaveth hope behind'.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.”

Nellie Bly

“From the moment, I entered the insane ward on the Island, I made no attempt to keep up the assumed role of insanity. I talked and acted just as I do in ordinary life. Yet strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted the crazier I was thought to be by all except one physician, whose kindness and gentle ways I shall not soon forget.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“Here was a woman taken without her own consent from the free world to an asylum and there given no chance to prove her sanity. Confined most probably for life behind asylum bars, without even being told in her language the why and wherefore. Compare this with a criminal, who is given every chance to prove his innocence. Who would not rather be a murderer and take the chance for life than be declared insane, without hope of escape?”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“How can a doctor judge a woman's sanity by merely bidding her good morning and refusing to hear her pleas for release? Even the sick ones know it is useless to say anything, for the answer will be that it is their imagination.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“How nonsensical it is to blame or criticise people for what they are powerless to change.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I always had a desire to know asylum life more thoroughly – a desire to be convinced that the most helpless of God’s creatures, the insane, were cared for kindly and properly.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I always have a comfortable feeling that nothing is impossible if one applies a certain amount of energy in the right direction.”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“I always liked fog, it lends such a soft, beautifying light to things that otherwise in the broad glare of day would be rude and commonplace.”

Nellie Bly

“I always made a point of telling the doctors I was sane, and asking to be released, but the more I endeavored to assure them of my sanity, the more they doubted it.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I felt sure now that no doctor could tell whether people were insane or not, so long as the case was not violent.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I had looked forward so eagerly to leaving the horrible place, yet when my release came and I knew that God’s sunlight was to be free for me again, there was a certain pain in leaving.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I had never been near insane persons before in my life, and had not the faintest idea of what their actions were like.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I had, toward the last, been shut off from all visitors, and so when the lawyer, Peter A. Hendricks, came and told me that friends of mine were willing to take charge of me if I would rather be with them than in the asylum, I was only too glad to give my consent.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I have always been particular in stating only facts in all my work.”

Nellie Bly
Untruths in Every Line

“I have never written a word that did not come from my heart. I never shall.”

Nellie Bly

“I have watched patients stand and gaze longingly toward the city they in all likelihood will never enter again. It means liberty and life; it seems so near, and yet heaven is not further from hell.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I need a vacation; why not take a trip around the world?”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“I said I believed I could. I had some faith in my own ability as an actress and thought I could assume insanity long enough to accomplish any mission intrusted to me. Could I pass a week in the insane ward at Blackwell’s Island? I said I could and I would. And I did.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I said I could and I would. And I did.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I shuddered to think how completely the insane were in the power of their keepers, and how one could weep and plead for release, and all of no avail, if the keepers were so minded.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I took upon myself to enact the part of a poor, unfortunate crazy girl, and felt it my duty not to shirk any of the disagreeable results that should follow.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I was too impatient to work at the usual duties assigned women on newspapers.”

Nellie Bly

“I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 A. M. until 8 P. M. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 A. M. until 8 P. M. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“If I loved and married, I would say to my mate: 'Come, I know where Eden is,' and like Edwin Arnold, desert the land of my birth for Japan, the land of love–beauty–poetry–cleanliness.”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“If one is traveling simply for the sake of traveling and not for the purpose of impressing one's fellow passengers, the problem of baggage becomes a very simple one.”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“If you want to do it, you can do it. The question is, do you want to do it?”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“In our short walks we passed the kitchen where food was prepared for the nurses and doctors. There we got glimpses of melons and grapes and all kinds of fruits, beautiful white bread and nice meats, and the hungry feeling would be increased tenfold.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“It is only after one is in trouble that one realizes how little sympathy and kindness there are in the world.”

Nellie Bly

“Let me rest rocked gently by the rolling sea, in a nest of velvety darkness, my only light the soft twinkling of the myriads of stars in the quiet sky above; my music, the round of the kissing waters, cooling the brain and easing the pulse; my companionship, dreaming my own dreams. Give me that and I have happiness in its perfection.”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“Never having failed, I could not picture what failure meant.”

Nellie Bly
From Jersey Back To Jersey

“Never order food in excess of your body weight.”

Nellie Bly

“Nonsense! If you want to do it, you can do it. The question is, do you want to do it?”

Nellie Bly

“People in the world can never imagine the length of days to those in asylums. They seemed never ending, and we welcomed any event that might give us something to think about as well as talk of.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”

Nellie Bly

“That was the greatest night of my existence. For a few hours I stood face to face with 'self'!”

Nellie Bly

“The attendants seemed to find amusement and pleasure in exciting the violent patients to do their worst.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“The insane asylum on Blackwell's Island is a human rat-trap. It is easy to get in, but once there it is impossible to get out.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“The turned-down pages of my life were turned up, and the past was present.”

Nellie Bly

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

Nellie Bly

“They can talk of the companionship of men, the splendor of the sun, the softness of moonlight, the beauty of music, but give me a willow chair on a quiet deck.”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“They were being driven to a prison, through no fault of their own, in all probability for life. In comparison, how much easier it would be to walk to the gallows than to this tomb of living horrors!”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“To have a good brain the stomach must be cared for.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“To sit on a quiet deck, to have a star-lit sky the only light above or about, to hear the water kissing the prow of the ship, is, to me, paradise.”

Nellie Bly
Around the World in 72 Days

“What a mysterious thing madness is. I have watched patients whose lips are forever sealed in a perpetual silence. They live, breathe, eat; the human form is there, but that something, which the body can live without, but which cannot exist without the body, was missing.”

Nellie Bly
Ten Days in a Mad-House

“While I live I hope.”

Nellie Bly