The Music Show – Shownotes

The only history that we look at in this episode is the history of the music we have chosen for Seasons 1 & 2! During each episode we try to pair music with the woman that we are discussing. Sometimes we shoot for a mood, a period tone, a literal reference… and sometimes, we pick a piece of music just because it makes us smile.

If you have never listened to the podcasts all the way through to the very end of the last musical selection, you may want to go back. We have been known to tuck outtakes in there!

For this podcast we have chosen some of the music that listeners liked the best from the past year, and hope you enjoy it as well!

1. “Cookin’ at Home” by Rick Fink and his Gas House Gorillas
From Episode 15 : 1950s Housewives

2. “Black Coffee” by Stefanie
FROM: Episode 18 : Ella Fitzgerald

3. “Daughters of History” by Morning Spy
From : Episode 09 : Gilded Age Heiresses

4. “Under Paris Skies” by Phoebe Legere
From Minicast: Sophie Blanchard

5. “Cool Kids” by Natalie Walker
From Episode 8 : The Mrs Astor

6. “Worth The Fight” by Marie Hines
From Episode 16 : Mary Wollstonecraft

7. “The Killer in Me’ by Amy Speace
From Episode 5 : Lizzie Borden

8: “Most Popular Girl in the World” by Ari Shine
From Episode 11 : Queen Victoria

9. “Keep on the Path” by Mystery Body
From Minicast : Red Riding Hood

10: “Straighten Up and Fly Right” by Jerry Costanzo
From Episode 18 : Ella Fitzgerald

11. “It Was Meant to Be” by Clayton
From Episode 19: Madame de Pompadour

12. “Pillsbury Cookie Dough” by Paul and Storm
From Minicast : Betty Crocker

Please visit to buy songs or to read more about the featured artists.

(And if you’re getting married, wouldn’t “It was Meant To Be” be the BEST first-dance song? )

Episode 20A: Sophie Blanchard

Our subject for this minicast is a woman who let her adventurous life soar! High above France, Sophie Blanchard was the first female professional balloonist and given the title “Aeronaut of the Official Festivals” by Napoleon Bonaparte during his reign.

Sophie Blanchard

Born March 25, 1778, Marie Madeleine-Sophie Armant was, by the few accounts of her, a nervous, petite and unremarkable woman…that is until her marriage to Jean-Pierre Blanchard. Blanchard, a professional balloonist was looking for a new gimmick and found it in his wife. We speculate as to what type of conversation it would take to get a woman like this into a balloon basket, but up she went, the first woman to take to the skies in this new -fangled, and dangerous, contraption. She as the first woman balloon pilot as well as the first professional female balloonist.

Hold on tight, Sophie!

We discuss early ballooning, what type of antics the competition of the Blanchards were up to, and exactly how scary these flights must have been during this time. In 1809 Jean-Pierre died in a ballooning accident and Sophie took over his business.

For as brave and daring as her husband was, he left his business in a financial pickle. Sophie did her best to cut corners and created some new ballooning stunts which she performed all over Europe, sometimes, to disastrous results. We cover those in the podcast, of course. But none were more disastrous than her last flight over the Tivoli Gardens in Paris in 1819. And by “last flight” yeah, we mean last anything. Sophie perished at the age of 41 doing the one thing that she had excelled in before any other woman.

A daylight ascension – 1810

The last show, 1819.

We discuss an indie, animated documentary about Sophie that is in production. Here is a link to the site about this project. We have not seen it, have not contributed, were not asked to talk about it but are very excited about the premise so we link you up here!
Interested in finding out a little bit more about the history of ballooning?

And we know you like books! Here is one you might enjoy!


The Little Balloonist, by Linda Donn

Episode 20: Nellie Bly

For this episode we focus on a woman who embodied sass, drive, creativity, brains, bravery, and heart. She was a journalist, a novelist, an adventurer, an inventor, an advocate for social reform and did it all under a name that wasn’t her own!

The most famous image of Nellie Bly headed off around the world (we think her bag is small, but very cute!)

Elizabeth Jane  Cochran was born May 5, 1864 in Cochran’s Mill, PA. Her father, Judge Michael Cochran was a self made man with a lot of power, money and not a lot of forethought: When little Elizabeth (who the family called “Pink”) he died without a will.

SWOOP! (That’s the sound of his children showing up with their hands out.)

Mary Jane was forced to sell their beautiful home, and the family moved to much less lush surroundings. Of course, we will tell you the rest of the tale in the podcast, but let’s just say that the family hit some hard times. Mary Jane had a less than successful marriage, Pink had a less than successful education, and the family saw a gritty side of humanity.


It was during the floundering years that Pink read an article in the Pittsburgh Dispatch that would change her life. Enraged with the message, she penned an anonymous letter signed, “Lonely Orphan Girl”. The letter led to a job, and a nom de plume based on a Stephen Foster Song, Nelly Bly.

We chat about her days at the Pittsburgh Dispatch and her first adventure in Mexico as a correspondent, the nerve of her move to New York, her wit and schemes that landed her first undercover assignment, “Ten Days in a Mad House”.

Nelly may have been trying to earn a living, stand out and survive in a male dominated world, but her daring adventures led to social reform, too. BONUS!

The professional life of Nellie Bly was legendary and personally, she had some adventures and very quick romance that led to marriage to a man 40 years her senior and a second career as a head of industry.

The latter years subjects of Nellie’s stories were more about social reform than attention-grabbing gimmicks. She rallied for poor women and mothers and was a champion for orphans. She worked tirelessly…really, as in: she worked herself sick. She neglected both her health and her medications until Elizabeth Cochran, Nellie Bly, died at the age of 58 in 1922 from pneumonia.

Nellie shortly before her death

Time Travel With The History Chicks

Both of us began our adventure with Nellie by listening to the Librivox recording of Around The World in 72 Days . Download from itunes or check out their website! You can read that as well as 10 Days in a Madhouse online .

Yes, we know, some of you are more visual learners! There is a PBS American Experience for that!

Is there a Nellie Bly website? Of course there is! Right here It seems aimed at a youngish demographic, but there is a lot of research material on it that is not all juvenile.

Gee, we wonder if a certain podcast/website that we adore and is based in New York ever did anything about Nellie since she lived there? Well of course the Bowery Boys did, here is a piece about the asylum where she got her start. Wait, that sounds bad…

Books! Here is what we felt was the best biography about Nellie that we found:

Nellie Bly: Daredevil Reporter Feminist by Brooke KroegorAnother one we would recommend

A Bio of Nellie Bly by Kathy Emerson

And for the younger crowd (or those of you who like lots of pictures…no shame in that!)

National Geographic, Bylines: Nellie Bly

You know what would be neat? If someone made a musical out of Nellie’s story! Oh wait, they did! If anyone has ever seen this, we would love to hear what you thought! Stunt Girl! The Musical!