JoAnn Peterson will bring her portrayal of American journalist Nellie Bly to Glenville State University’s Robert F. Kidd Library on Thursday, March 23. (Courtesy photo)

Glenville State University to host ‘History Alive!’ performance with Nellie Bly

GLENVILLE — Glenville State University’s Robert F. Kidd Library will be the site of a “History Alive!” performance featuring journalist Nellie Bly on Thursday, March 23 at 5:00 p.m. The “History Alive!” program features scholars from around the state who portray historical figures.

Bly, who will be portrayed by JoAnn Peterson of Kingwood, West Virginia, was an adventurer, inventor, and ground-breaking investigative reporter. Writing under the pen name of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, she was hired in 1887 as a reporter with Pulitzer’s New York The World. She feigned insanity to get committed to an asylum with no guarantee of release. Her subsequent articles on the conditions and treatment of the “patients” led to improvements in care for the mentally ill.

In January of 1890, she bested the time of the fictional Phileas Fogg from the book, Around the World in Eighty Days. Bly uncovered corruption, championed safe working conditions, was the voice for poor children and women, interviewed many well-known persons including Susan B. Anthony and Emma Goldman, participated in the Suffrage Movement, ran a steel manufacturing business which offered childcare and healthcare, and was the first female war correspondent on the Eastern Front during World War I.

This “History Alive!” performance includes a monologue from Peterson as Bly. She will share an introduction and will discuss the issues that influenced her life. That will be followed by an audience discussion portion with both Bly and another discussion session with Peterson after she “breaks character;” both give the audience an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the historical character.

The performance is free and open to the public.

“History Alive!” is a program of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

For more information about the presentation, contact (304) 462-6160.

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