Great short piece on wired about Nellie Bly who in 1889 circumnavigated the globe in 72 days. This she achieved on her own in a time when at a time when women rarely went unaccompanied to a Manhattan restaurant, let alone around the world.
Nellie was also one of the first investigative journalists. She got her first job at the Pittsburgh dispatch after writing an angry rebuttal to a sexist editorial by one of the papers columnists.
Bly left a big footprint wherever she trod. Besides journalism and adventuring, Bly became an industrialist (thanks to marrying a man 40 years her senior and inheriting his company upon the inevitable). She radically improved working conditions for her employees and found time to invent and patent the steel drum, forerunner to the 55-gallon drum still in widespread use.