Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"A Proposal to Girdle the Earth"


You all know how much I love Nellie Bly, so it should come as no surprise that I was verrrry excited when I read that today is the 118th anniversary of her 72-day journey around the world, which began on November 14th, 1889.

When she first presented the idea to her editor, he said:

"It is impossible for you to do it ... In the first place you are a woman and would need a protector, and even if it were possible for you to travel alone you would need to carry so much baggage that it would detain you in making rapid changes ... [T]here is no use talking about it; no one but a man can do this."

Ha! Sucka!

For those unaware of my obsession with the Original Girl Reporter, it all started when I was a kid and I had this series of books called "Value Books" which gave real-life famous people imaginary friends, and told illustrated, highly-sanitized versions of their life stories. My favorites, besides Nellie, were:

Albert Schweitzer
Hans Christen Andersen
Charles Dickens
Louis Pasteur
Jane Addams
Marie Curie
and Cochese, whose values were "Truth and Trust," which is kind of ironic ...

Their friends were pens or ducks, or test tubes or puffs of smoke, and I think Ben Franklin's was a penny.

Anyway, the books completely rocked my world as an eight-year-old and twenty years later Nellie Bly still rocks my world, and today you can follow her footsteps on this neat map from PBS.

And, as the Value Books would say, to learn more about Nellie Bly, visit your local library.

2 comments:

Levi Stahl said...

You and I, it seems, read a lot of the same books as kids. The Value Book on Jackie Robinson was my favorite. His friend was a talking baseball.

Spinster Aunt said...

I remember the Jackie Robinson book!
I loved the illustrations in the whole series, the way they were so bold and saturated and inky ...