Nellie Bly Discussion - History Comes Alive Festival: Secrets Revealed!

Discussion about Nellie Bly with Anne Pasquale

During the June Festival, we gather together to pick the brains of the historical performers. No costumes, no script, just a chance to have some personal time and dialog with the performers – and get to know them and what they think about their characters.

Plenty of free parking.

Nellie Bly

Elizabeth Cochrane, better known as stunt reporter Nellie Bly, understood the importance of selective revelation in order to maintain a well-crafted public persona. Ms. Bly had many secrets: What was the true nature of her love interests? Was she a closet smoker with a fondness for a fine cigar? Historians do not tell us. A secret they do reveal is that Bly was chiefly an inventor and entrepreneur. She had the uncanny ability to identify a need, invent a marketable solution, and sell it. After marrying Robert Seaman in 1895, she inherited the Iron Clad Manufacturing Company when she was widowed in 1904. As owner and manager, she initiated a social welfare program for her employees, invented the 55-gallon steel drum, the stackable garbage can, and held 25 patents in her name. Yet it is her initial creation, the persona of Nellie Bly, whose eyewitness stunt reporting established Elizabeth Cochran on the world stage and catapulted her to fame, that provided what little financial security she, and the family to whom she was devoted, knew throughout her lifetime.

This Festival is funded in part by the Metropolitan Arts Council which receives funding from the City of Greenville, BMW Manufacturing Co, Michelin NA, SEW Eurodrive, the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the American Rescue Plan, the Greenville City Accommodations Tax Fund and the generous Friends of Greenville Chautauqua.