Nellie Bly: A Closer Look

Nellie Bly is most famous for her extraordinary trip around the world. This journey was undertaken by Bly in an attempt to challenge the record of Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg in the novel “Around the World in 80 Days.” In 1889, a time when a woman’s place was considered to be the home, Bly’s travels had her as a passenger of ships, trains, rickshaws, camels, and even burros. Bly did beat Fogg’s record: in just 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes, Bly returned to a crowd of cheering people.

But this isn’t all that earned Bly her fame. She was a leader in women’s equality and this sometimes gets overshadowed by her exciting trip around the world. So what do you need to know about Nellie Bly to realize she’s one of the most awesome ladies in history? Actually, quite a lot. She was a leader in investigative journalism with a spirit that couldn’t be tampered or toned down by anyone.

This 300 piece puzzle turns into a game board - a fun way to play and learn all about the adventures of Nellie Bly!

Elizabeth Jane Cochran, the thirteenth and most rebellious child of the wealthy landowner, judge, and businessman Michael Cochran, would someday grow up to be a famous journalist under the pseudonym Nellie Bly (a name she chose from the Stephen Foster song). Bly’s family fell into financial ruin when her father died when she was just six years old, leaving behind no will to protect the children of his second wife, including Bly and four of her siblings.

From an early age, Bly was not afraid of controversy or standing up for women. She testified against her mother’s second husband during their divorce trial about his abuse and alcoholism. She attempted to find an independent living for herself that would also help her support her mother and went to train to become a teacher at age 15, but was forced to give it up after only one semester because of insufficient finances.

Bly worked for a few years in jobs that brought her little money and no recognition. Then, incensed by an article written by popular columnist Erasmus Wilson on how women belonged in the home cooking and sewing and the like, going as far as to call the working woman a “monstrosity,” Bly was compelled to write in an angry, spirited response signed “Little Orphan Girl.” Her fiery attitude and well-reasoned response actually impressed the editors; Wilson wrote an open letter to “Little Orphan Girl” to get her to present herself. She did, and was hired.

But this wasn’t yet a major breakthrough for women. After a few stories that contained substance, the editors demoted Bly to write on the things they deemed appropriate for a woman because her exposé on the conditions of female factory workers upset factor owners. Her new assignments were on flowers and cotillion dances. Bly found this unacceptable; she continued writing stories with meaning, but was rejected. She even traveled down to Mexico and reported on its culture and exposed political corruption, but this merited nothing. Her frank reporting was getting her in trouble. Fed up, Bly quit, writing a simple two weeks notice to Wilson and made her way to New York City, telling him to “look out for her.”

Wilson couldn’t have missed her if he tried.

In New York, Bly searched for six months until Joseph Pulitzer (of the Pulitzer Prize) hired her for New York World. Her first assignment was to write a feature story about the conditions inside the local insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. One of the first reporters to go undercover for a story, Bly made up an entire identity, faked insanity, fooled the psychiatrists, and got herself admitted. She stayed there for ten days.

Her articles on the asylum shocked everyone, revealing the abusive conditions these women were forced to live under, such as ice cold baths, cruel beatings, and meals made with rancid butter. It caused an absolute media frenzy and secured an $850,000 increase in the budget of the Department of Public Charities and Corrections and a reform of the institution. Bly’s work was finally starting to get the attention it deserved. She was a founding mother of investigative journalism, but she didn’t stop there.

She got herself landed in jail and hired by a sweatshop to uncover injustices and poor treatment of the vulnerable, voiceless people in those places. An advocate for social justice and a voice for the disenfranchised, Bly reported on corruption, shady lobbyists, and inadequate medical care given to the poor. Her report on the Pullman Railroad Strike in Chicago was the sole article to give a voice to those that were actually on strike. She always injects personality into her stories, giving her reactions, feelings, and observations along with the facts.

At 30, Bly retired and happily married industrialist 70-year-old Robert Seaman. When he died ten years later, she became president of a steel manufacturing company and
became a leading female industrialist of the time, setting a precedent for working conditions that included ensuring fair pay and health care. There are alternate claims, but some believe she went and invented the steel barrel that became the model for the widely used 55-gallon drum (others think the credit belongs to a man named Henry Wehrhahn). She did, however, invent  a stacking garbage can and a novel milk can. Eventually, however, the business went bankrupt due to embezzlement by employees. She returned to reporting and helped find homes for abandoned children, wrote on the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Convention, and stories Europe’s Eastern Front during WWI.

Basically, Nellie Bly did more than many of us can ever hope to do in terms of pioneering. And she did it in a time when it seemed even more impossible. But she remains an model of encouragement: in the present, women’s issues are at the forefront of our attention, and it’s inspiring to be reminded that with a determined, blazing spirit, we can make things happen and change the world.

Full texts are available if you are interested in reading Nellie Bly’s famous article on the asylum.

 

NASA releases new photos of Mars from Curiosity Rover

On November 26, 2011, the rover called Curiosity was launched into space from Cape Canaveral. Nine months later, after a 350 million mile journey, it landed safely on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on the planet Mars to much celebration and cheering from Nasa. NASA released new photos of the planet on Tuesday.

No ideas what a rover is? Scroll to the bottom of this post.

We have an awesome 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle of Mars made by Euro Graphics. Who knows - maybe we will see some new puzzles pop up now that NASA has released new photos of the planet.

While on Mars, Curiosity will be investigating the planet’s geology and climate and we’ll begin to look at the big question of whether or not Mars could have ever supported life — looking into the role of water and the planet’s habitability.

So now is a pretty good time to review what we already know about Mars because we’re about to be learning a lot more about the fourth planet from the sun. If your interested in outer space and the great unknown – make sure to check out some of our educational and fun jigsaw puzzles about space.

Fun Facts about Mars

  • Mars is named after the Roman god of war because of its red color. Other civilizations also gave the planet names based on appearance—Egyptians called Mars “the red one” (“Her Desher”) and ancient Chinese astronomers referred to it as the “fire star.”
  • In reality, Mars’ color appearance is a result of the fact that Mars has a lot of iron in its soil.
  • Mars is the only planet whose surface can be seen in detail from Earth because it is our nearest planetary neighbor
  • The diameter of Mars is 4,200 miles—a little over half the diameter of Earth
  • Mars is home to the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, which tops out at 15 miles high—three times the height of Mount Everest! Its diameter is even more impressive: it’s 370 miles, enough to cover the entire state of New Mexico
  • Mars also has the deepest, longest valley in the solar system, Valles Marineris, which can go as deep as 6 miles and runs east-to-west for about 2,500 miles (the distance from Phiadelphia to San Diego).
  • The Martian “day” is about a half hour longer than Earth’s day, and Mars orbits the sun every 687 Earth days.
  • At its brightest, Mars loses only to Venus, which outshines it
  • Mars is covered in valleys and canyons, so it’s very possibly Mars was once home to large amounts of surface water which now do not exist due to its cold, thin atmosphere
  • Scientists believe the climate of Mars used to be a lot like our climate on Earth—warm and wet.
  • Mars has seasons just like Earth because also just like Earth, Mars has an axis that tilts in relation to the sun.
  • Mars’ seasons are more extreme because its orbit is elliptical and more elongated than any other major planet’s orbits.
  • The average temperature on Mars is about -80°F, though it can drop to -191°F during the coldest periods and rise to 70°F during the hottest at the equator.
  • Mars has two moons, Phobos, meaning “fear,” and Deimos, meaning “rout.” In the Greek version, Mars is named Ares, and his sons are Phobos and Deimos. This is where astronomer Asaph Hall came up with the names.
  • Mars holds another record in the entire solar system: it has the largest dust storms. These can blanket the entire planet and last for months!

Soon we’ll be compiling an even larger list of things to know about the red planet. In the meantime, keep updated on the newest photos of Mars – we’ve never seen in this type of close up, high quality image.

What is a Rover, anyway?

From Wikipedia: A rover (or sometimes planetary rover) is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other astronomical body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots. Rovers usually arrive at the planetary surface on a lander-style spacecraft. Their advantages over orbiting spacecraft are that they can make observations to a microscopic level and can conduct physical experimentation. Disadvantages of rovers compared to orbiters are the higher chance of failure, due to landing and other risks, and that they are limited to a small area around a landing site which itself is only approximately anticipated.

Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball!

Today marks the 101st birthday of the late Hollywood star, Lucille Ball. Best known for her role in I Love Lucy, this lovely woman will always be remembered as the clumsy, crazy and lovable Lucy Ricardo.


According to IMDB, the “dizzy sitcom redhead was a show business powerhouse and television pioneer.” Here are some interesting facts about her:

  1. For many years during their marriage, Lucy and Desi Arnaz hid the fact that she was six years older than he by splitting the difference in their ages. She (born in 1911) said she was born in 1914 and he (born in 1917) also said he was born in 1914.
  2. She didn’t like any false form of a bird, she preferred to see them in person so she banned all pictures of birds from her house and any hotel room she was staying in.
  3. She was tutored in comedy by the great Buster Keaton.
  4. Ball appeared on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Early Television Memories issue with Vivian Vance, as Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, in a scene from “I Love Lucy: Job Switching (#2.1)” (1952). The stamp was issued 11 August 2009.
  5. A quote: “In life, all good things come hard, but wisdom is the hardest to come by.”

Happy Birthday, Lucy! You are missed! For more great Lucille Ball memorabilia, check out selection of I Love Lucy puzzles and our I Love Lucy Trivia Game.

Happy 150th Birthday, Gustav Klimt

It was Gustav Klimt’s birthday on Sunday. The art nouveau icon was born on July 14, 1862 and died Feb. 6, 1918. Klimt’s work remains as some of the most expensive on the art market. In celebration of his birthday, Vienna’s museums offered an exhibit called “Klimt: Up Close and Personal” – where his artwork was given a new light – not just beautiful reproductions of his most famous golden work “The Kiss,” but also showing off the “worst of the worst” – some 100+ objects sent from around the world that Klimt’s work has been reproduced on – from toilet-seat covers, bejeweled eggs with rotating figured from “The Kiss” and Elvis music – to pictures of tattoos.

We think Gustav Klimt Jigsaw Puzzles are a much classier way to honor the intricate artwork of this great, late, artist. After all, only some of the highest quality puzzle brands have reproduced his work – Heye, Piatnik and Pomegranate to name a few of our favorites. Below, see some of the artwork that is available on jigsaw puzzles from Gustav Klimt. Puzzles are a great way to enjoy your favorite artwork time and time again because they can either be glued and framed to form a wonderful piece of wall decoration – or disassembled and put back together over the years.

New & Popular

We have added literally thousands of new items since January, with all of our favorite brands releasing new puzzles and games – so we thought we would collect all of our favorite new items, as well as the ones we have sold the most of since bring them in – so you know what jigsaws are currently hot on the radar!

1. A License to Life 
Ravensburger, 500 pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Busy Bee Quilting Club
SunsOut, 300 pieces. This one is not new, but it one of our highest sellers, and it has been discontinued by SunsOut – so we have ordered up extra – better grab it while you can!

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