Who the heck is Nellie Bly?

Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman better known by her pen name, Nellie Bly, was an American journalist who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg, and 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

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

“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

“Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.”

Nellie Bly

“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 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 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 could and I would. And I did.”

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

“I've always had the feeling that nothing is impossible if one applies a certain amount of energy in the right direction. If you want to do it, you can do it.”

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

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

Nellie Bly

“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

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

Nellie Bly

“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

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

Nellie Bly

“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