Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (5 May, 1864 – 27 January, 1922), 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.
She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism. Bly was also a writer, inventor, and industrialist.
The Washington Post reports that Bly is getting her own statue at Roosevelt Island in New York, where a 23-year-old Bly spent ten days undercover as a patient in the asylum on the island uncovering the mistreatment patients received there.
She truly gave it her all as a reporter: to get into the asylum she practised looking insane in the mirror, trying out different “far-away expressions” because she believed they had a crazy air, and embedding herself into the world she was reporting in ushered in a new kind of undercover journalism.
After quitting and then coming back to journalism, Bly died of pneumonia in 1922.
The organization the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp is currently sponsoring a competition for an artist to create the monument, who will have a budget of $500,000.
The statue will be unveiled in spring 2020.
New York City has recently turned its attention to raising monuments in tribute to marginalized figures who made history as a corrective to a city filled with statues in honour of men (as of 2017 there were 150 of the men, just 5 of women.)