Nellie Bly (1864 – 1922) will be portrayed by JoAnn Peterson of Kingwood in a West Virginia Humanities Council History Alive! program at the McCoy Theater in Moorefield on Saturday September 29th at 10am. The program is being sponsored by the Hardy County Tour & Craft Association as part of the 65th Annual Heritage Weekend.
Nellie Bly was the pen name of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane who became a well-known investigative reporter in the late 1800s, unheard of for a woman at that time. To get a job as a reporter with the New York World she succeeded in getting herself committed for 10 days to the infamous lunatic asylum known as Blackwell’s Island in New York, with no guarantee of her release. Her subsequent newspaper series on the conditions and treatment of the institutionalized women led to public outrage and improvements in the care for the mentally ill. Using the power of her pen she brought public attention to the plight of women, children, workers, and the poor. In November of 1889 she started a highly publicized race around the world to better the fictional Phineas Fogg of the Jules Verne book, Around the World in Eighty Days. Traveling alone she made it in a little more than 72 days and was a sensation.
Nellie Bly is one of the many available character presentations offered through the West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive! program as a means of exploring history by interacting with noteworthy historical figures. These programs provide audiences with the opportunity to question those who have shaped our history. Historical characterization is the vehicle for this program. Humanities scholars have carefully researched the writings, speeches and biographies of the characters they portray and whenever possible, use their original words.
The West Virginia Humanities Council is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing educational programs in the humanities for all West Virginians. For over 40 years the Council has been providing educational programs in the humanities across the state.
This program is available to both non-profit and for-profit groups. For more information call the West Virginia Humanities Council at 346-8500 or visit www.wvhumanities.org.