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Category: Biography

Black and white image of Nellie Bly, newspaper journalist, in a Victorian-style, houndstooth button-down dress holding a handbag in her left hand and a hat in her right hand.

“Behind Asylum Bars:” Nellie Bly Reporting from Blackwell’s Island.

Posted by: Amber Paranick

“Could I pass a week in the insane ward at Blackwell’s Island? I said I could and I would. And I did.” In 1887, investigative journalist for the New York World newspaper Nellie Bly went undercover to expose the dreadful conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum, a mental institution on Blackwell’s Island. Read more about Bly’s fearless investigation and how her work forever changed the field of journalism.

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

Gertrude “Ma” Rainey in Newspapers

Posted by: Amber Paranick

This year’s celebration of Pride Month wrapped up this week and we wanted to highlight an important figure in the history of blues music whose story has often been overlooked. Gertrude “Ma” Rainey was hailed as the “Mother of the Blues” and was a bisexual Black singer who has and continues to inspire generations of musicians. …

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

Madam C.J. Walker

Posted by: Amber Paranick

Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire through her company, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing. Though she had no formal education, she gained a wide reputation as an African American entrepreneur in the cosmetics industry and manufacturer of a hair remedy, which she coined the “Walker System.” …

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

Women’s History in Newspapers

Posted by: Amber Paranick

This is a revision of the Headlines and Heroes 2019 International Women’s Day blog. Sunday, March 8, 2020, was International Women’s Day and today we return to our historical newspaper archives for stories featuring change-making women in newspapers searchable in Chronicling America. This database, sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of …