January 25, 1890 Nellie Bly

Today in History

Born May 5, 1864, Elizabeth Jane Cochran was one of fifteen children born to Michael Cochran, and two wives. Michael died in 1870 leaving a modest legacy. It didn’t amount to much, split fifteen ways.

As a teenager in western Pennsylvania, Elizabeth adopted an “e” believing that “Cochrane” sounded more sophisticated. She enrolled at the Indiana Normal School in 1879 (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) but dropped out after one semester, for lack of funds. In 1880 her mother moved the family, to Pittsburgh.

According to an article in the Pittsburg Dispatch entitled “What girls are for” the answer appears to be, not very much. Making babies and keeping house. Elizabeth didn’t appreciate it and wrote to the paper, to say so. She signed her letter, “Lonely Orphan Girl”.

If writing well is the sign of an organized thought process, the mind of Elizabeth Cochrane was in good working order…

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