Oct. 29, 2015 – The student journalists of The Campus, the award-winning student newspaper at Allegheny College, will celebrate pioneering journalist Ida Tarbell’s birthday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 5 in the newspaper’s newsroom, Campus Center 314. The public is invited for cake and an open house.
Tarbell was born in Erie County on November 5, 1857 and grew up in Titusville. The only woman to matriculate at Allegheny College in 1876 and graduate in 1880, Tarbell set a standard for investigative reporting that journalists today continue to hold high.
“I think Ida Tarbell’s legacy is something that resonates deeply with the work we do for The Campus,” said Christina Bryson, the college newspaper’s editor-in-chief. “She never let anything or anyone stop her from doing her journalistic duty. Ida teaches us that it’s our duty as journalists to report the truth no matter how tough it may be to actually report. And I think as long as we continue working towards that goal of fairness and accuracy while also informing the public of the tougher issues, then we as student journalists are honoring Ida Tarbell’s legacy.”
Tarbell is best known for her 1904 book “The History of the Standard Oil Company,” in which she revealed the unethical means used by John D. Rockefeller to monopolize the early oil industry. Eight years later, as a result of Tarbell’s investigative work, the Supreme Court issued a decision to break up the Standard Oil trust.
In 1999 the New York University journalism department ranked “The History of the Standard Oil Company” fifth in a listing of the top 100 journalistic works of the 20th century.
Tarbell was a trustee of Allegheny College for many years. The Ida M. Tarbell Collection at Allegheny College contains her professional papers and book collection. Her papers, which represent more than 17,000 items, are digitized and accessible from the college library’s website.
The Campus newspaper has served the Allegheny College community since 1876. Tarbell was one of its earliest editors.