Watch an Animated Documentary About the Pioneering Journalist & Feminist Icon Nellie Bly

While no longer a house­hold name, the trail­blaz­ing jour­nal­ist Nel­lie Bly (1864–1922) is def­i­nite­ly an endur­ing Amer­i­can icon.

Her like­ness has graced a postage stamp and a fin­ger pup­pet.

Her life has been the sub­ject of numer­ous books and a made-for-TV movie.

Some hun­dred years after its com­ple­tion, her record-break­ing, 72-day round-the-world trip inspired an episode of The Amer­i­can Expe­ri­ence, a puz­zle-cum-boardgame, and a rol­lick­ing song by his­to­ry fans the Dee­dle Dee­dle Dees.

And now? Meet Nel­lie Bly, car­toon action hero. (Hero­ine? Hard to say which hon­orif­ic the opin­ion­at­ed and for­ward-think­ing Bly, born in 1864, would pre­fer…)

Film­mak­er Pen­ny Lane’s “Nel­lie Bly Makes the News,” above, is not the first to rec­og­nize this sort of poten­tial in the pio­neer­ing jour­nal­ist, whose 151st birth­day was cel­e­brat­ed with an ani­mat­ed Google Doo­dle and accom­pa­ny­ing song by Karen O, but Lane (no rela­tion to Lois, the fic­tion­al reporter mod­eled on you-know-who) wise­ly lets Bly speak for her­self.

Not only that, she brings her into the stu­dio for a 21st-cen­tu­ry inter­view, in which an eye-rolling Bly describes the resis­tance she encoun­tered from the male elite, who felt it was not just unseem­ly but impos­si­ble that a young woman should pur­sue the sort of jour­nal­is­tic career she envi­sioned for her­self.

She also touch­es on some of her most famous jour­nal­is­tic stunts, such as the under­cov­er stints in a New York City “insane asy­lum”and box-mak­ing fac­to­ry that led to exposés and even­tu­al­ly, social reform.

Biog­ra­ph­er Brooke Kroeger and brief glimpses of archival mate­ri­als touch on some of the oth­er high­lights in Bly’s auda­cious, self-direct­ed career.

The car­toon Bly’s hair­do and attire are peri­od appro­pri­ate, but her vocal inflec­tions, cour­tesy of broad­cast reporter and voiceover artist Sam­mi Jo Fran­cis, are clos­er in spir­it to that of Broad City’s Ilana Glaz­er.

(Inter­est­ing to note, giv­en Bly’s com­plaints about how promi­nent­ly the one dress she took on her round the world trip fea­tured in out­side sto­ries about that adven­ture, that dress is a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of The Appre­ci­a­tion of Boot­ed News­women blog. Respect­ful as that site is, the focus there is def­i­nite­ly not on jour­nal­is­tic achieve­ment.)

via Aeon

Relat­ed Con­tent:

New Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty App Cel­e­brates Sto­ries of Women Typ­i­cal­ly Omit­ted from U.S. His­to­ry Text­books

74 Essen­tial Books for Your Per­son­al Library: A List Curat­ed by Female Cre­atives

New Web Project Immor­tal­izes the Over­looked Women Who Helped Cre­ate Rock and Roll in the 1950s

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inkyzine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 9 for anoth­er sea­son of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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