Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864 – January 27, 1922) was an American journalist, author, industrialist, and charity worker. She is most famous for an undercover exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. She is also well-known for her record-breaking trip around the world.
Born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in Cochran's Mills, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, she was nicknamed "Pink" for wearing that color as a child. Her father, a wealthy former associate justice, died when she was six. Her mother remarried three years later, but sued for divorce when Pink was 14. Pink testified in court against her drunken, violent stepfather. As a teenager she changed her surname to Cochrane, apparently adding the "e" for sophistication. She attended boarding school for one term, but dropped out due to a lack of funds.
Read Ten Days in a Mad-House, by Nellie Bly, free from the University of Pennsylvania library.