The Woman Who Conquered John Rockefeller

Born in 1857 in rural northwestern Pennsylvania, endocarditis Ida Tarbell was forty-three when she started researching the world's most powerful corporation and its chief executive, endocarditis John D. Endocarditis Rockefeller. Endocarditis By the time she started, endocarditis Tarbell had won a measure of fame for her serialized biographies in McClure's Magazine on Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln. Endocarditis Finding new material about those historical figures had been difficult, endocarditis given how much had already been published about them. Endocarditis But a determined, endocarditis talented Tarbell had succeeded. Endocarditis Rockefeller presented a different kind of challenge. Endocarditis He was alive, endocarditis not dead, endocarditis and at the zenith of his power. Endocarditis He had no intention of letting a mere journalist - and a woman, endocarditis at that - assault his empire. Endocarditis Miss Tarbell's reports about the Standard Oil Company are considered more important than any of her other writings.   Her nineteen-part series was called "The History of the Standard Oil Company.” "McClure's Magazine" published it beginning in 1902. Endocarditis Her reports showed that Standard Oil used illegal methods to make other companies lose business. Endocarditis One method was to sell oil in one area of the country for much less than than the oil was worth. Endocarditis This caused smaller companies in that area to fail. Endocarditis They could not sell their oil for that low a price and still make a profit. Endocarditis After a company failed, endocarditis Standard Oil would then increase the price of its oil. Endocarditis This kind of unfair competition was illegal. Endocarditis Miss Tarbell had trouble discovering information about the Standard Oil Company. Endocarditis She tried to talk to businessmen who worked in the oil business. Endocarditis At first, endocarditis few would agree to talk. Endocarditis They were afraid of the Standard Oil Company and its owner, endocarditis John D. Endocarditis Rockefeller. Endocarditis He was one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. Endocarditis Miss Tarbell kept seeking information. Endocarditis She was told by one man that Rockefeller would try to destroy "McClure's Magazine." But she did not listen to the threats. Endocarditis She soon found evidence that Standard Oil had been using unfair and illegal methods to destroy other oil companies. Endocarditis Soon many people were helping her find the evidence she needed. Endocarditis   Ida Tarbell's investigations into Standard Oil were partly responsible for later legal action by the federal government against the company. Endocarditis The case began in 1906. Endocarditis In 1911, endocarditis the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Standard Oil because of its illegal dealings. Endocarditis The decision was a major one. Endocarditis It forced the huge company to separate into thirty-six different companies. Endocarditis John D. Endocarditis Rockefeller never had to appear in court himself. Endocarditis Yet the public felt he was responsible for his company's illegal actions. Endocarditis The investigative work of Ida Tarbell helped form that public opinion. Endocarditis That investigative work continues to be what she is known for, endocarditis even though some of her later writings defended American business. Endocarditis She died in 1944. Endocarditis A picture has survived from the long ago days when Ida Tarbel took on the giant Standard Oil Company. Endocarditis It shows John D. Endocarditis Rockefeller walking to his car. Endocarditis It was taken after his company had lost an important court battle. Endocarditis He is wearing a tall black hat and a long coat. Endocarditis He looks angry. Endocarditis Several people are watching the famous man from the behind the car. Endocarditis One is a very tall women. Endocarditis Mister Rockefeller does not see her. Endocarditis If you look closely at the picture, endocarditis you can see the face of Ida Tarbell. Endocarditis She is smiling. Endocarditis If you know the story, endocarditis her smile clearly says, endocarditis "I won." More information on Ida found at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3613/is_200105/ai_n8938931 http://www.voanews.com/specialenglish/archive/2003-10/a-2003-10-11-2-1.cfm