After graduating from college Tarbell moved to Ohio to teach science but resigned after two years. In 1883 Ida joined the staff of The Chautauquan, a monthly magazine. From 1891 to 1894 Ida studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and worked as a freelance writer. In 1894 she joined McClure's, a popular magazine, as an editor, she started out writing biographies. From 1906-1915 Ida joined other writers at the American magazine where she was a writer, editor and co-owner. Tarbell wrote several books on Lincoln, an autobiography in 1939 and two books on women; "The Business of Being a Women" in 1912. In 2000 She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Ida's Big Break
Tarbell dug into the Rockefeller's family oil monopoly and uncovered their unfair business practices, her discoveries were first publish in the Magazine and then later were published as a book "The History of the Standard Oil Company." Tarbell's father feared Rockefeller retaliate against the magazine advised her not to do it. "The History of the Standard Oil Company" grew into a 19 part series. Ida wrote about Rockefeller's unethical tactics but she was still careful to mentation Rockefeller's brilliance and the flawlessness of his business structure. " The History of the Standard Oil Company" would be hailed as a landmark in the history of investigated journalism.