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Ida Tarbell Papers, 1896-1943
2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 159

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 Types of material include correspondence, memorabilia, journal and newspaper articles, published and unpublished writings, and a photograph.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must be obtained from the holders of the copyright.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

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.

Ida M. Tarbell, undated

Ida M. Tarbell, undated

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.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

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:

This collection is organized into three series:


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must be obtained from the holders of the copyright.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Ida Tarbell Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

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.

Processing Information

Processed by Kara M. McClurken, 2002.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/
Language
English.
Separated Material

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.

Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Series Descriptions
(1904-1942)
.25 linear feet

This series provides a glimpse at Tarbell's personal and professional life, including newspaper articles; advertisements; and memorabilia promoting her work, her activities, and her opinions on women's rights and roles. Also included in this series is a photograph of Tarbell, and her published autobiography.

(1896-1943)
.5 linear feet

This series comprises the bulk of the collection and includes correspondence of a mostly professional nature. Most of the material focuses on Tarbell's work at McClure's and her research for her Lincoln biography. Carbon copies of Tarbell's responses to correspondents can be found within much of the general correspondence. Notable correspondents include Albert Augustus Boyton, John McCann Davis, Nancy Hanks Hitchcock, and John S. Phillips, as well as a variety of political figures and acquaintances of Abraham Lincoln. The correspondence is arranged chronologically except for the letters in the general correspondence subseries, which is first arranged alphabetically by correspondent and then chronologically within each individual's letters. The business letters of 1896-97 have been removed from a bound book and photocopied. [Note: A letter written to John S. Phillips regarding Tarbell's anti-suffrage views has been missing since 1977.]

(1912-1930)
.25 linear feet

This series includes published articles by Tarbell on the subject of women's suffrage and the role of women in war. An unpublished article about Charles Brower's experience rescuing whalers is also included. The materials are arranged chronologically.

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS



Newspaper clippings,
1912-42, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Memorabilia, women journalists postage stamp, and photograph,
1913-2002, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
All in the Day's Work: An Autobiography,
1939


Typescript excerpt


Box 1: folder 3
Book


Box 1: folder 4
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE



General, A-Z,
1892-1911, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5-12
Individuals



Boyden, Albert,
1905-12, n.d.

Box 1: folder 13
Davis, J. McCan,
1898-1900

Box 1: folder 14
Phillips, John S.,
1910-43

Box 1: folder 15
Taylor Society,[copies from Allegheny College]
1919-32

Box 1: folder 16
Business letters,
1896-97


Index


Box 2: folder 1
Mar-Feb 1897

Box 2: folder 2-19
SERIES III. WRITINGS



Published



Miscellaneous articles,
1912-39

Box 2: folder 20
The Business of Being a Woman: partial typescript and reviews,[copies from Allegheny College]
1912

Box 2: folder 21
Unpublished



Herbert Hoover,[copies from Allegheny College]
1917-28, n.d.

Box 2: folder 22
"Account of whalers caught in arctic ice and the heroism of their rescuer, Charles D. Brower," [author unknown],
n.d.

Box 2: folder 23

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • American Magazine--History
  • Boyden, Albert Augustus, 1875-1925--Correspondence
  • Brower, Charles D., 1863-1945
  • Davis, J. McCan (John McCan), 1866-1916--Correspondence
  • Journalism--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Biography--Sources
  • McClure's magazine--History
  • Phillips, John Sanborn, 1861-1949--Correspondence
  • Tarbell, Ida M. (Ida Minerva), 1857-1944
  • Women and war--United States--History
  • Women journalists--United States--History--Sources
  • Women--Suffrage--United States--History


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