What do Canton, torture and executions, lepers, temples, and Christmas have in common?
One Nellie Bly, a 25-year-old New York investigative reporter, who left Hong Kong the evening of December 24th for Canton.
The things she saw there did not include goodwill to all men.She had to set aside her holiday merriment for empathy and sympathy as she saw the horrors the poor chinamen endured.
Only one thing was shared that day. Curiosity. She in them and them in her, a single white woman traveling alone.
Little did they know she was on her 61st day of traveling around the world.
Jules Verne's new book Around the World in 80 Days was the source of her challenge to her editor. "I can do it in 75 days." She does... in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes!
This is her story. One I recommend for women from 10 to 100 years old. Like the people along her travels, I, too, am curious about this woman. So I went on an online search about her and women in 1889.
"During the early history of the United States, a man virtually owned his wife and children as he did his material possessions. If a poor man chose to send his children to the poorhouse, the mother was legally defenseless to object. Some communities, however, modified the common law to allow women to act as lawyers in the courts, to sue for property, and to own property in their own names if their husbands agreed.
"Equity law, which developed in England, emphasized the principle of equal rights rather than tradition. Equity law had a liberalizing effect upon the legal rights of women in the United States. For instance, a woman could sue her husband. Mississippi in 1839, followed by New York in 1848 and Massachusetts in 1854, passed laws allowing married women to own property separate from their husbands. In divorce law, however, generally the divorced husband kept legal control of both children and property.
"In the 19th century, women began working outside their homes in large numbers, notably in textile mills and garment shops. In poorly ventilated, crowded rooms women (and children) worked for as long as 12 hours a day. Great Britain passed a ten-hour-day law for women and children in 1847, but in the United States it was not until the 1910s that the states began to pass legislation limiting working hours and improving working conditions of women and children."
"Like most upper-class ladies in Chicago in the 1880s, Mrs. Allerton changed clothes several times a day. Victorian fashion magazines and etiquette books dictated that a proper lady wear different kinds of dresses for different events, and Mrs. Allerton and her peers all had afternoon reception dresses--which were different from both evening reception dresses and afternoon "walking" dresses, also worn for shopping or paying calls.
"The basic rules were that day dresses were more covered up, especially at the sleeves and neckline, than those for evening, and indoor dresses were more delicate than dresses designed for riding in carriages or walking. Dresses for the opera or the ball were the dressiest and barest of all. 'Once you see what the component parts are, you can sort of figure out how they got through the day.'"
Events of 1889 include:
- Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd USA President.
- The first issue of the Wall Street Journal was published.
- The first jukebox was installed in a saloon. 5 cents to listen.
- 4 territories joined the States of the Union: North and South Dakota, Montana and Washington as #42.
This was the world of Elizabeth Jane Cochran (1864-1922), who wrote under the pen name of Nellie Bly. She launched a new kind of investigative (often undercover) journalism.
Any book that stimulates my thoughts, curiosity and/or enlightens me, gets a thumbs up from me.
See Book #5 for my review of her other book, 10 Days in a Mad-House.
Both are available through www.ichthuspublications.com.