Marker Text: Noted oil historian, biographer of Lincoln, journalist, lived in this house about six years. She was graduated from the Titusville High School in 1875.
Location: At 324 East Main Street (PA Route 27), Titusville, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1954.
"Muckrakers" was the name that Theodore Roosevelt gave journalists of the early part of the 20th century who exposed abuses in American business and government. Ida Tarbell, one of the original muckrakers, was able to help shut down the Standard Oil Company monopoly that had hampered her father's efforts in the oil industry in Pennsylvania. Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, irked by her stinging éxpose, dubbed her "Miss Tarbarrel."
At the time I took the photo in 2009, the Tarbell home was being restored. Click any photo to enlarge.
Ida Minerva Tarbell was born in a log cabin on a farm in Erie County, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 5, 1857. Her parents were Franklin S. Tarbell and Esther Ann McCullough Tarbell. When oil was discovered in Pennsylvania, Ida's father became the first manufacturer of wooden oil tanks after oil was discovered not far from this home in Titusville, PA. The Tarbell family first moved to Rouseville, a village on Oil Creek south of Titusville and later to this house in Titusville.
Ida was still very young when the family moved to Rouseville to take advantage of Pennsylvania's budding oil industry. In school, Ida became fascinated by her science classes. At Titusville conditions were better for the girl, who was sent to good schools and graduated from Titusville High School and later to Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, located west of Titusville in the same county. At Allegheny College she majored in biology, where she received the A. B. degree in 1880, the only woman to graduate in a class of forty and then earned the M. A. degree in 1883.
After graduation Miss Tarbell taught school for some time at Poland, Ohio, but she was not in her element and found little to challenge her there. She was asked to do some work for The Chautauquan. Eventually she became managing editor of the publication and stayed for eight years.