T Ject 60

The Woman Who Conquered John Rockefeller

Born in 1857 in rural northwestern Pennsylvania, t ject 60 Ida Tarbell was forty-three when she started researching the world's most powerful corporation and its chief executive, t ject 60 John D. T ject 60 Rockefeller. T ject 60 By the time she started, t ject 60 Tarbell had won a measure of fame for her serialized biographies in McClure's Magazine on Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln. T ject 60 Finding new material about those historical figures had been difficult, t ject 60 given how much had already been published about them. T ject 60 But a determined, t ject 60 talented Tarbell had succeeded. T ject 60 Rockefeller presented a different kind of challenge. T ject 60 He was alive, t ject 60 not dead, t ject 60 and at the zenith of his power. T ject 60 He had no intention of letting a mere journalist - and a woman, t ject 60 at that - assault his empire. T ject 60 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. T ject 60 Her reports showed that Standard Oil used illegal methods to make other companies lose business. T ject 60 One method was to sell oil in one area of the country for much less than than the oil was worth. T ject 60 This caused smaller companies in that area to fail. T ject 60 They could not sell their oil for that low a price and still make a profit. T ject 60 After a company failed, t ject 60 Standard Oil would then increase the price of its oil. T ject 60 This kind of unfair competition was illegal. T ject 60 Miss Tarbell had trouble discovering information about the Standard Oil Company. T ject 60 She tried to talk to businessmen who worked in the oil business. T ject 60 At first, t ject 60 few would agree to talk. T ject 60 They were afraid of the Standard Oil Company and its owner, t ject 60 John D. T ject 60 Rockefeller. T ject 60 He was one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. T ject 60 Miss Tarbell kept seeking information. T ject 60 She was told by one man that Rockefeller would try to destroy "McClure's Magazine." But she did not listen to the threats. T ject 60 She soon found evidence that Standard Oil had been using unfair and illegal methods to destroy other oil companies. T ject 60 Soon many people were helping her find the evidence she needed. T ject 60   Ida Tarbell's investigations into Standard Oil were partly responsible for later legal action by the federal government against the company. T ject 60 The case began in 1906. T ject 60 In 1911, t ject 60 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Standard Oil because of its illegal dealings. T ject 60 The decision was a major one. T ject 60 It forced the huge company to separate into thirty-six different companies. T ject 60 John D. T ject 60 Rockefeller never had to appear in court himself. T ject 60 Yet the public felt he was responsible for his company's illegal actions. T ject 60 The investigative work of Ida Tarbell helped form that public opinion. T ject 60 That investigative work continues to be what she is known for, t ject 60 even though some of her later writings defended American business. T ject 60 She died in 1944. T ject 60 A picture has survived from the long ago days when Ida Tarbel took on the giant Standard Oil Company. T ject 60 It shows John D. T ject 60 Rockefeller walking to his car. T ject 60 It was taken after his company had lost an important court battle. T ject 60 He is wearing a tall black hat and a long coat. T ject 60 He looks angry. T ject 60 Several people are watching the famous man from the behind the car. T ject 60 One is a very tall women. T ject 60 Mister Rockefeller does not see her. T ject 60 If you look closely at the picture, t ject 60 you can see the face of Ida Tarbell. T ject 60 She is smiling. T ject 60 If you know the story, t ject 60 her smile clearly says, t ject 60 "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