The Rise of McClure’s
“Although McClure’s Magazine is no longer on the newsstands, it does occupy a permanent place in the history of the period that it served, because it worked itself into the literary and economic life of the country.”
—Ida M. Tarbell (1)
When Theodore Roosevelt pejoratively defined reform journalism as “muckraking” in a speech given April 14, 1906, he christened a movement begun three years earlier. Though Roosevelt denounced all expose literature at this time, historians since have used “muckraking” as a largely non-pejorative term for the era of reform journalism inaugurated by McClure’s Magazine in January, 1903. (2) Muckraking was a journalistic expression of the progressive mentality. Using the medium of the mass-circulation magazine, investigative reporters successfully exposed the rapid industrial growth and consolidation popularly believed to be undermining the social, political, and economic security of the American middle class. While many newspapers had disclosed local wrongdoings for some time, the wide readership of the monthly periodicals brought many hometown scandals to the attention of a national audience. When Richard Hofstadter wrote that it was “hardly an exaggeration to say…the progressive mind was characteristically a journalistic mind,” he was well aware of the tremendous influence the muckrakers had on the collective American mentality. (3) The progressive middle class, bent upon reforming the evils of industry and its political counterpart, machine government, needed a medium through which it could voice its concerns. Before corruption could be squelched, it had to be thrust into the harsh light of public scrutiny. The muckrakers ably performed this function.
Historians generally agree that one magazine best exemplifies the muckraking periodical. McClure’s Magazine was “completely representative of the average thought and sensibility of the muckraking movement.” (4) By viewing this periodical in the context of its era, one recognizes its importance as a powerful medium for political and social sentiment. A study of its development chronicles the magazine’s pioneering efforts in the art of bringing the “diffuse malaise” of the nation into focus. (5)
During the Golden Age of Magazines, from 1890 until 1915, a number of developments converged to enable McClure’s , like its chief competitors, Munsey’s and Cosmopolitan, to spread its message across the nation. Postal rates decreased while Rural Free Delivery rapidly expanded. (6) High-speed presses were becoming commonplace, and Frederic Ives’ perfection of halftone photoengraving enabled magazines to print high quality illustrations at a fraction of their original cost. The “middle-class market” for inexpensive periodical literature expanded, causing advertising revenues to soar as manufacturers scrambled for a share of the profits; (7) the nations between 1880 and 1900 benefited from a fifty per cent increase in population and a one hundred per cent increase in national wealth. By 1903 the yearly flow of customer goods exceeded twenty-five billion dollars, and magazines soon accommodated this tremendous growth by becoming the central medium for commercial advertisement. Economic and technological factors enabled the magazine business to thrive. Inexpensive periodicals flooded newsstands, and had an “unprecedented…influence on the social scene.” (8)
In the midst of this favorable economic climate, Samuel Sidney McClure and his business partner, John S. Phillips, decided to establish a magazine. Born and reared in the Midwest, McClure and Phillips had been classmates at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and were associates in the newspaper syndication business for eight years when they sought to expand their enterprise. (9) Under McClure’s leadership, they intended to utilize unpublished stories originally purchased for syndicate use, while paying the proposed magazine’s staff with syndicate revenues. Intent on capturing a share of the magazine market, the S.S. McClure Company was founded in 1893 with $7300 in capital and a wealth of enthusiasm. Their new enterprise, McClure’s Magazine, was to be different from the thirty-five cent “highbrow journals” like Harper’s,Scribner’s, and the Atlantic Monthly. (10) McClure’s would cost twenty cents less, and would “hire writers who could seize hold of new, complex, but interesting scientific ideas, study them down to the bottom and put them in readable prose.” (11) Strangely, no national magazine had ever undertaken such a task with any regularity. Fiction by promising young writers would complement the scientific articles and the result, McClure and Phillips hoped, would be excitement and knowledge encapsulated in slick packaging, well-suited for profitable mass consumption. (12)
“I am simply crushed with work,” McClure wrote his wife as he scoured the United States in search of writers,
Oh! the magazine, the magazine! it means seven years of travail, study, thought, and energy. I must read the current newspapers to find out who can best write for me. Then I must read all current magazines and reviews and weeklies and study their pictures. I must invent the men and organize a staff for syndicate and magazine that will surpass anything attempted heretofore and in seven years I want to control a great daily and found the London Times of America. So as you see I am busy. I study and read all evening. I think and plan and invent….How I like to invent! (13)
As plans solidified and writers were hired, the economic climate turned bleak: for McClure and Phillips, the Golden Age of Magazines seemed to be rapidly tarnishing. The first issues of McClure’s emerged during the panic of 1893, and it appeared the depression would squelch the fledgling magazine. Though the initial “number” was relatively inexpensive, at fifteen cents per copy — a year’s subscription for one and a half dollars — it was a dismal failure. (14) Of the 20,000 copies first printed, 12,000 were returned unsold from the newsstands, and McClure’s first sixteen months were marred by monthly losses of $5,000. (15) With characteristic persistence, McClure marshaled the necessary capital to push the magazine out of the red and into the black.
McClure’s survived and eventually flourished because it appealed to an expanding middle-class market drenched in progressivism; it voiced the common feelings of an “optimistic, slightly naive, and wide-eyed” nation, (16) for its aim was
to deal with important social, economic, and political questions; to present the new and great inventions and discoveries; to interpret the conquests of science; to advance great moral enthusiasms; to remove the barriers of the intellectual life; to promote the well-being of childhood and youth; to give the best in literature; and, above all, to achieve an unforgettable charm and vitality in all its undertakings. (17)
Like Munsey’s and Cosmopolitan, McClure’s featured articles on art and history. At least one lengthy biographical portrait was found in each issue, the majority featuring living Americans. Each biographical sketch was profusely illustrated and written in a sprightly style which set it apart from the more staid “highbrow” periodicals. Middle-class readers in this era were mesmerized by the notion of individual success, and eagerly studied the lives of prosperous Americans within the covers of McClure’s. By June, 1898, the magazine’s circulation surpassed 400,000 and boasted more advertising than any of its competitors. (18)
Though McClure’s was a risky enterprise at its inception, its subsequent success only served to convince its editor that speculative ventures could lead to profitable gains. Indeed, the magazine’s meteoric rise dangerously reinforced McClure’s confidence in his abilities, instincts, and goals. (19) McClure’s creativity was irrepressible, and to utilize his talents to their utmost he felt he could not remain shackled to his rolltop desk. “you can’t learn to edit a magazine in the office,” he once told staff writer Lincoln Steffens, for the true editor must “get out, go anywhere, everywhere, see what is going on…[and] find out who are the men and movements [they] ought to be reporting.” (20) McClure viewed himself as a vital creative force who need not preoccupy himself with the responsibilities of magazine management and finance; those duties were for his staff to handle while he roamed the world in search of talent, ideas, and articles. (21) McClure was an unbridled creature of instinct and enthusiasm, driven by his nerves and his unending curiosity in hopes of creating the finest of magazines. (22) Lincoln Steffens called him “the wild editor”, (23) and historian Russell Horton writes how McClure, like his magazine, “exemplified his own times — chaotic and excited.” (24)
This energy needed to be shaped, refined, edited. And John S. Phillips provided the restraint necessary to bring his associate’s ideas to fruition in the form of concrete magazine copy. Phillips was the “editor’s editor.” He sorted through the myriad of story ideas which McClure churned out, and picked the ones that looked promising. McClure’s writers often recalled this fact: William Allen White, in his autobiography, commented with tongue-in-cheek that “Sam had three hundred ideas a minute, but J.S.P. [Phillips] was the only man around the shop who knew which one was not crazy.” (25) Lincoln Steffens, in an interview with historian Ada McCormick, recalled how “McClure would have ten ideas, one good….” (26) The exact number of impractical inspirations is unimportant; it is sufficient to note the majority of McClure’s schemes were, at best, castles in the air.
Ida Tarbell, a staff writer, editor, and minority stockholder in the magazine, also played an important role in S.S. McClure’s hectic world. Together with Phillips, she exercised a great deal of control over her editor-in-chief. McClure considered Tarbell a “moral bastion” and regarded here with great affection; he later would remind her he had always “given [her] a great loyalty” (27) and also would remark that he cared for her “as much as a man can care for a woman without loving her….” (28)
Tarbell and Phillips also enjoyed the loyalties of many of the McClure’s staff, who often served in both editorial and authorial capacities for the magazine. Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, and William Allen White provided many of the stories which soon fueled McClure’s popularity, while Albert Boyden organized the piles of copy in his capacity as desk editor. John Siddall, placed on the payroll at Tarbell’s request, acted as research assistant. All served under Phillips and Tarbell who, as minority stockholders in the S.S. McClure Company, acted as intermediaries between the staff and their editor-in-chief. (29) Thus, the correspondence of Phillips and Tarbell accurately reflects the feelings of their subordinates, who looked to them for leadership. As McClure traveled the world in search of ideas and inspiration, Tarbell and Phillips unofficially ran the magazine in New York. Together, they offered the staff a sense of stability McClure could not provide. Though McClure was officially the figurehead of his burgeoning periodical, he never won the unshakable staff loyalty Phillips and Tarbell enjoyed. This proved crucial when McClure’s later faced crisis.
As McClure’s popularity continued to escalate at the turn of the century, the staff faced the hectic struggle to generate suitable ideas for magazine articles. McClure recognized the growth of trusts as a subject worthy of study. A man with an instinct for the tastes of the reading public, McClure discerned “the coincidence of market andmission;” (30) a story about burgeoning industrial consolidation would perform a public service by lessening widespread ignorance about how trusts operated — even better, it would sell magazines. (31) Thus, he set out to convince the McClure’s staff that trusts were “the only side of present day interests that [they] did not seem to be grappling with properly in the magazine.” (32) When McClure told his writers to dig for suitable stories, staff reporter Ray Stannard Baker provided the crucial spark which ignited the muckraking movement at McClure’s.
While working on a piece of fiction in California, Baker wrote Tarbell to suggest that a story chronicling oil discoveries in that state might prove interesting. Tarbell shied away from the idea because she thought it would not appeal sufficiently to the McClure’s readership. The articles they were seeking, she replied, “ought to do something on the great industrial developments of the country,” and “make clear the great principles by which industrial leaders are combining and controlling these resources.” (33) Eventually, however, Tarbell saw in Baker’s idea the seed of a useful article. In September, 1901, she presented the idea to McClure, Phillips, and her other colleagues. (34) If she undertook an investigative article on the greatest of the trusts — the Standard Oil Company — would it prove popular and informative? The staff replied affirmatively, and “there was much talk in the office about it.” (35) Indeed, they thought, “the idea of using the story of a typical trust to illustrate how and why the clan grew” seemed sound. (36)
Tarbell was the ideal candidate to commence this investigative study. She grew up in the Pennsylvania Oil Region, her home “not being over thirty miles away from that first well.” (37) Her father had been involved in the early days of the oil industry — and was bankrupted by Standard Oil. Tarbell’s family experience provided her with a victim’s understanding of the trust. “Monopolies are fearful evils — and growing in their devilish power all over the country,” wrote Esther Tarbell to her daughter in 1893,
no wonder that such a terrible problem stands before the country to be solved; peacibly if possible — by force if it must be — but to be solved and answered, by this generation before God and the world…. God grant it be righteousness. (38)
Tarbell undoubtedly was influenced by such sentiments. Though she later claimed her History of the Standard Oil Company was “an historical study of the effect of a privilege and…that without primary privilege you could not, under our institutions, produce a trust,” (39) her outlook was unmistakably biased in favor of the independent oil producer. Tarbell collected her facts diligently, and then presented them in a tone of disgust. While it must be stressed that other members of the McClure’s staff never expected this study to indict trusts, Tarbell’s documentation convinced McClure, Phillips, Baker and Steffens that industrial consolidation was an evil to be exposed to public scrutiny. (40)
The Standard Oil series first appeared in McClure’s in November, 1902, and ran in each consecutive issue until July, 1903. A second group of articles on this subject began the following December and appeared sporadically until October, 1904. A book composed of these articles soon followed. (41) Tarbell’s study traced the growth of the oil industry from its earliest days, when petroleum was used solely for medicinal purposes, through the discovery of its usefulness in internal combustion engines. Her articles recounted the growth of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company from its establishment and followed its rise to the zenith of its economic power at the turn of the century. Tarbell’s narrative betrayed a mixture of “disdain and white-hot moral indignation controlled by excellent documentation and a facade of objectivity….” (42)
For Ida Tarbell and her colleagues on the staff of McClure’s, morality was a measure of right and wrong action gauged to their middle-class, progressive beliefs. In the words of historian David Mark Chalmers, “‘Public morality’ [was] their morality, and the ‘public interest’…their interest.” (43) Trusts were morally offensive to progressives because it was believed they were business consolidations acquired through unfair privilege; they were perceived as harmful to the economic power of the middle class, and were therefore considered a menace to all society.
While Tarbell busily polished her first three Standard Oil installments for publication in McClure’s, Lincoln Steffens was on the trail of another scandal which demonstrated the intimate relationship between urban machine politics and the interests of consolidated business. Advised by William Boyden, a staff member’s brother, Steffens set out to chronicle St. Louis attorney Joseph Folk’s attack against municipal corruption. (44) When he returned to the McClure’s offices he monitored the extraordinary progress of Tarbell’s Standard Oil series and, in hopes of becoming equally successful, submitted his article in June, 1902. The story created a flurry of excitement in the office. McClure was especially jubilant; he saw in the Folk article the seed of another great series: while Tarbell’s articles exposed corporate corruption, Steffens’ pieces would expose the wrongdoings of its partner in crime, machine government. The editor-in-chief carefully supervised the rewriting of the Folk article and titled it “Tweed Days inSt. Louis.” (45)
Upon completion, the article was “a lucid and sprightly demonstration of how venality had overwhelmed St. Louis.” (46) Steffens listed the bribed as well as the bribers, the buyers and sellers of privilege, and the leaders of St. Louis’ corrupt political machine. (47) He succinctly epitomized that city’s tainted municipal government when he noted that
man of the legislators were saloon-keepers — it was in St. Louis that a practical joker nearly emptied the House of Delegates by tipping a boy to rush into a session and call out, ‘Mister, your saloon is on fire….’ (48)
As “Tweed Days in St. Louis” went to press in October, 1902, McClure sent Steffens to investigate municipal corruption in Minneapolis. by November this article was in rough draft form and undergoing revision for publication as “The Shame of Minneapolis.” Another series was successfully launched.
Steffens’ “Shame of the Cities,” as the collected articles were later titled, demonstrates the author’s progressive, middle-class attitude; he was “endowed with that moral indignation which inspired the Age of Reform.” (49) This viewpoint is echoed by historian Patrick Palermo, who notes “Steffens was a reformer and a progressive. There was not mistaking this. His affection for bosses was tempered by his hatred of their machines.” (50) At this period in his life Steffens believed, with a naivete characteristic of his fellow progressive journalists, that mere exposure of governmental corruption was sufficient to spur the people to embrace reform. Thus, when Steffens documented how businessmen bribed St. Louis officials, abetted Minneapolis grafters, and sponsored other forms of corruption in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, he waited patiently for widespread reform. He expected business — trusts included — to slide from its post at the pinnacle of political corruption. Peter Lyon, a McClure biographer, writes that Steffens “was convinced that what ailed American politics…was the American businessman, grasping for profits, corrupt and corrupting; and he spread this conviction as this as peanut butter on everything he wrote.” (51) “The business man,” Steffens wrote,
has failed in politics as he has in citizenship. Why? Because politics is business. That’s what’s the matter with it. That’s what’s the matter with everything, — art, literature, religion, journalism, law, medicine, — they’re all business, and all — as you see them. Make politics a sport, as they do in England, or a profession, as they do in Germany, and we’ll have — well, something else than we have now, — if we want it, which is another question. But don’t try to reform politics with…. business men…. (52)
While Steffens penned his vitriolic attack against the illicit flirtation of business and politics, McClure urged Ray Stannard Baker to undertake a story “on big industrial articles that [would] touch in a vital way the principles, and give graphically the essential situations in this tremendous drama.” (53) In October, 1902, the editor-in-chief dispatched Baker to the coal fields of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to cover the United Mine Workers strike which had begun in May of that year. McClure soon followed to supervise the investigation, but the strike ended shortly after his arrival. (54) While Baker assumed there was no need to do a story on the strike since a settlement had been reached, McClure disagreed. Why not cover the plight of the seven thousand non-union miners who had worked in the midst of the strike? Local newspapers carried articles chronicling their sufferings; there were rumors that non-strikers’ homes had been burned by union members, and that “scabs” and “finks” had been beaten brutally.m(55) Could Baker, McClure wondered, expose their dilemma to the nation via a McClure’s article? Baker caught some of his editor’s contagious enthusiasm and undertook an article examining the issue. (56)
In November, 1902, after a month of investigative reporting, Baker returned to New York and submitted “The Right to Work” to McClure. Containing a series of journalistic portraits of non-striking miners, the article explored their sufferings in great detail. Baker viewed these men as individuals who merely wished to live and work as they pleased, and his article portrayed brave miners being abused by union agitators. (57)
S.S. McClure was elated. In his possession, for publication in the January, 1903, McClure’s, were three articles with a common theme: lawlessness. All met McClure’s strict standards for thorough, well-dominated research, and all contained facts explosive in their implications. The third installment of Tarbell’s Standard Oil series was ready for publication. So, too, were Steffens’ “The Shame of Minneapolis” and Baker’s “The Right to Work.” These articles were, in short, indictments against businessmen, politicians, and organized labor.
Though McClure later denied it, the January, 1903 McClure’s was intentionally controversial. When these articles were still in outline form, McClure insisted each place communicate a sense of affronted morality. In the words of biographer Peter Lyon, McClure had a “positive, puritanical” desire to arouse the public to a frenzy of righteous indignation, and the editor eagerly awaited the day when the January issue hit the newsstands. (58)
John S. Phillips also played a crucial role in the genesis of these investigative articles in the January, 1903 issue. While McClure enthusiastically spurred his writers onward, Phillips calmly insured the pieces were “constructed in a way that would lead the reader through a thought process similar to that of the writer.” (59) Phillips remained behind the scenes, editing pencil in hand, until an extensively rewritten article emerged, incisive, ripe for publication. (60)
The McClure’s staff did their work well. The January, 1903 issue was indeed incisive, its content summarized by an editorial penned by McClure himself. He titled it “Concerning Three Articles in this Number of McClure’s, and a Coincidence that May Set Us Thinking:”
How many of those who have read through this number of the magazines noticed it contains three articles on one subject? We did not plan it so; it is a coincidence that the January McClure’s is such an arraignment of American character as should make every one of us stop and think. How many noticed that?
The leading article, ‘The Shame of Minneapolis,’ might have been called ‘The American contempt of Law.’ That title could well have served for the current chapter of Miss Tarbell’s History of Standard Oil. And it would have fitted perfectly Mr. Baker’s The Right to Work.’ All together, these articles came pretty near showing how universal is this dangerous trait of ours. Miss Tarbell has our capitalists conspiring among themselves, deliberately, shrewdly, upon legal advice, to break the law so far as it restrained them, and to misuse it to restrain others who were in their way. Mr. Baker shows labor, the ancient enemy of capital, and the chief complaint of the trusts’ unlawful acts, itself committing and excusing crimes. And in ‘The Shame of Minneapolis’ we see the administration of a city employing criminals to commit crimes for the profit of elected officials, while the citizens…stood by complacent and not alarmed.
Capitalists, workingmen, politicians, citizens–all breaking the law, or letting it be broken. Who is left to uphold it?…
There is no one left; none but all of us….We are all doing our worst and making the public pay. The public is the people. We forget that we are all the people; that while each of us in his group can shove off on the rest of the bill of to-day, the debt is only postponed; the rest are passing it on back to us. We have to pay in the end, every one of us. And in the end the sum total of the debt will be our liberty. (61)
These words heralded the emergence of reform journalism as the voice of the progressive mentality. (62) A careful examination of the articles summarized in this editorial provides a clearer understanding of McClure’s inauguration of the genre of magazine literature later dubbed “muckraking” by Theodore Roosevelt. the investigations featured in McClure’s were carefully researched, well-documented, and published with the two-fold intention of selling magazines while inspiring reform. The McClure’s reporters were the first “true” muckrakers to expound progressive ideals to a nationwide readership. They were by no means “yellow journalists,” whose work often “bordered on pure fiction [and] pandered to the most sensational sentiments.” (63) Ida Tarbell, in a May, 1922 letter to historian C.C. Regier, was careful to make such a distinction:
I should think it would be wise, if you contemplate writing a serious piece of work, to define muck-raking. There is a great difference between a sensational presentation of a public scandal for the sake of making a good story, and a serious study of situations which are making the public uneasy. (64)
The investigations undertaken in McClure’s, though responsibly researched and well-written, nevertheless were imbued with a weakness inherent in their authors’ progressive attitudes. As “reformers who came from…general progressive backgrounds,” (65) Tarbell, Steffens, Baker, and the majority of the staff “all shared the same ethical outlook.” (66) At this time in their careers, the McClure’s staff viewed their mission in simplistic and optimistic terms: they assumed, for instance, the mere exposure of industrial evils would cause “the people,” whom they perceived as having middle-class values, to rise up and restore “absolute popular democracy.” (67)
The McClure’s muckrakers espoused this belief because they had a common heritage. All “were Midwesterners who grew up in similar circumstances….” (68) McClure spent his childhood in Valparaiso, Indiana, and supported himself as a farmhand and domestic servant. Tarbell spent her youth in Titusville, Pennsylvania, a town remote from influence of the cities further East. (69) Baker was born in Michigan and grew up in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. (70) Steffens was raised in San Francisco, where his father first settled in 1862 after traveling by wagon-train from Illinois. (71) All were Protestant, middle-class, and raised to believe the roots of morality and democracy were imbedded in agrarian America. The ways of the city ran counter to their ideological backgrounds, and the McClure’s staff felt it their duty to dish up “heavy heapings of moral law” with which to indict the “commercial spirit.” (72) In their view, industrialism was “the source of corruption in American institutions,” and their articles in the January, 1903 issue demonstrated this belief. (73) Tarbell, Steffens, and Baker each attacked entities intimately tied to business and the growth of trusts: Tarbell exposed the monopolistic practices of the Standard Oil Company; Steffens uncovered the political machinery of Minneapolis, which was fueled by bribes from the business sector; Baker chronicled the sufferings of non-union miners allegedly abused by agitators from the United Mine Workers–an organization which sprang into existence largely to counterbalance the burgeoning power of industrial management. (74)
Though the public reaction to these articles was favorable, there were indications [that] some prominent progressives looked unfavorably upon McClure’s muckraking exposes. Theodore Roosevelt, long a supporter of progressive reform journalism, voiced his growing displeasure with the magazine’s righteous crusades. (75) In response to Steffens’ “Shame of the Cities” series, Roosevelt wrote McClure, lamenting that “Steffens ought to put more sky in his landscape….It is an unfortunate thing to encourage people to believe that all crimes are connected with business.” (76)
Despite this presidential slap on the wrist, the McClure’s staff continued its mission of exposing corporate evils to the public’s view, and their readership showed its appreciation by eagerly purchasing the magazine. The “muckraking” in the January, 1903 McClure’s was a national periodical’s first self-conscious attempt to arraign America for its lawless behavior. After this issue hit the newsstands,
the public response to these exposures was so great that other magazines entered the field, and by 1904 the major magazines were all making ringing attacks upon the abuses and evils of American life. The most sensational development of the progressive movement had been launched. (77)
Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, Everybody’s, Munsey’s and others, having witnessed McClure’s success with “the new journalism of exposure,” raced to imitate the muckrakingformula, (78) prompting one magazine editor to comment that “McClure’s was the greatest stud-horse of the bunch.” (79) In some cases, the imitations were well-researched and presented in the McClure’s fashion; in others, sensationalism reigned supreme. Eventually, muckrakers exposed the dilemmas of Orientals, blacks, immigrants, and tenement dwellers, but there always seemed to lie, at the heart of the problems facing society, the evils of the greedy businessman. (80)
The McClure’s staff spawned a journalistic movement which articulated progressive ideals and presented them on a nationwide scale. In one well-researched, well-written, and well-timed issue, the January 1903 McClure’s succeeded in capturing the spirit of the era. Basking in the glow of public adulation, the staff never anticipated S.S. McClure’s actions would soon cause a storm of indignation fierce enough to wrench the magazine apart.
CHAPTER II END NOTES:
27 Interview notes of Ada McCormick, undated, IMT Collection, Lincoln Steffens Talking About Ida Tarbell file, Allegheny College Library, Meadville, Pennsylvania. Hereafter cited as Interview notes, Lincoln Steffens Talking About Ida Tarbell file.
40 Ida Tarbell to C.C. Regier, May 25, 1922, IMT Collection, McClure’s Magazine file, Allegheny College Library, Meadville, Pennsylvania. Also see Tarbell, Day’s Work, p. 206 for her conclusions about her Standard Oil series: “We were undertaking what we regarded as a legitimate piece of historical work. We were neither apologists nor critics.”
55 John E. Semonche, Ray Stannard Baker; A Quest for Democracy in Modern America, 1870-1918. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969), p. 105. Hereafter cited as Semonche, Ray Stannard Baker.
63 Palermo, Steffens, p. 56. See also Lyon, Success Story, p. 206: “This editorial was a flaring balefire, rallying progressives…all across the country,” and Hofstadter, Age of Reform, p. 203: “An excellent illustration of the spirit of progressivism as it manifested itself in the new popular literature is provided by a famous editorial by S.S. McClure in the January, 1903 issue of McClure’s.”