Skip to main content

Ida Tarbell papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00159

Scope and Contents

The Ida Tarbell Papers consist of 1 linear foot and are primarily related to her professional life, dating from 1896 to 1943. The bulk of the papers date from 1896 to 1912, and focus on her time as assistant editor at McClure's and on her writings about Abraham Lincoln. There is also a small amount of material regarding her anti-suffrage views. Types of material include correspondence, memorabilia, journal and newspaper articles, published and unpublished writings, and a photograph. The papers are arranged in three series:

Dates of Materials

  • 1896-1943

Creator

Language of Materials

English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Ida Minerva Tarbell was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania on 5 November 1857, the daughter of Esther Ann McCullough and Franklin Sumner Tarbell. She attended local public schools and graduated from Allegheny College in 1880, the sole woman of her class.

She taught for a few years at Poland Union Seminary, in Poland, Ohio, and worked for The Chatauquan, a home-study teaching guide based in Meadville, Pennsylvania from 1883 to 1891. She left her job, traveling to Paris to study the role of women in the French Revolution. While there, she supported herself by writing occasional articles for Scribner's magazine and by 1892, McClure's, including a series of articles on Napoleon Bonaparte that was published in book form in 1895. She also wrote biographies of Madame Roland (1896) and Abraham Lincoln (1900), but remains best known for her scathing expose, The History of Standard Oil (1904). She was an assistant editor of McClure's from 1894 to 1906. She was one of a group of investigative journalists (dubbed "muckrakers" by Theodore Roosevelt) who owned and edited the American Magazine from 1906 to 1915. She then lectured on the Chautauqua circuit until 1932, speaking on a variety of topics and occasionally writing articles for magazines.

Though a supporter of women's rights early in her career, she did not support women's suffrage, a position that caused friction between her and those she worked with on a variety of causes. She suffered from Parkinson's disease in her later years and died in Bridgeport, Connecticut on 6 January 1944.

Extent

0.875 linear feet (2 containers)

Abstract

Journalist; Historian; Biographer; and Anti-suffragist. Papers are primarily related to her professional life, focusing on her time as assistant editor at McClure's and on her writings about Abraham Lincoln. There is also a small amount of material regarding her anti-suffrage views. Types of material include correspondence, memorabilia, journal and newspaper articles, published and unpublished writings, and a photograph.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into three series:

  1. I. Biographical Materials
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Writings

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Dorothy P. Huntington and the heirs of John Sanborn Phillips donated his materials related to Ida Tarbell to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1958. All in the Day's Work, Tarbell's autobiography, was purchased in 1996. Additional materials were donated by A. Lovell Elliott in 2015.

Related Materials

Many of her published works are available in the Five College Libraries.

Separated Materials

Tarbell gave her own papers to her alma mater, Allegheny College, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and the Ida M. Tarbell Collection may be found in their Special Collections.

Processing Information

Processed by Kara M. McClurken, 2002.

Creator

Title
Ida Tarbell papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Kara M. McClurken
Date
2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss114 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:10-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063