Academic journal article Journalism History

All in the Day's Work: An Autobiography

Academic journal article Journalism History

All in the Day's Work: An Autobiography

Article excerpt

Tarbell, Ida. M. All in the Day's Work: An Autobiography. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003. 412 pp. $21.95.

Two or three generations have come of age since the autobiography of Ida M. Tarbell (1857-1944) was originally published in 1939, so this reissue is welcome. And given the continuing interest in muckraking and the muckrakers themselves, this affordable volume could be a welcome addition to journalism and mass communication history classes as well as to students of history and political science.

The volume is not just the story of a woman who has been credited with "inventing" a type of reporting based upon information gathered from reading numerous documents and talking to as many sources as can be found, although that story is presented interestingly and modestly. Interwoven in TarbelPs basic life story are small gems that would be of interest to any number of specialists. For example, women's studies historians might find of interest her search for reasons why women should or should not have the vote. In her study of the subject (she once had intended to write an ambitious history of women), she came to what today seems an unbelievable position that opposed universal suffrage. The basic question she sought an answer for was, "Will women having the vote make a difference?"

TarbelPs concerns with moral purposes may seem hopelessly dated, but in planning her life and examining the usefulness of lives of others, she used this measure. As Kathleen Brady, a biographer of Tarbell, put it, before she took a position on women's rights, she "wanted to know if women would accomplish more with the vote than men had. …

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