Sue Young Histories

The Tarbell Surname and Homeopathy

May 12, 2008

McClure’s MagazineThe Tarbell surname gave us one of the first ever investigative journalist who exposed the Standard Oil Company, such that the law was changed to guard us against such nefarious practices, and an orthodox doctor who converted to homeopathy and wrote one of the best books on homeopathy for lay people, students and practitioners alike.

Ida Minerva TarbellIda Minerva Tarbell 1857– 1944 was not connected to or probably even interested in homeopathy. However, she exposed the Standard Oil Company for its disgusting tactics which led to groundbreaking antitrust legislation in America. It was not just homeopaths who were attacked by the nefarious tactics of this disreputable company.

The Sherman Act prohibits the restraint of trade. Defenders of Standard Oil insist that the company did not restrain trade, they were simply superior competitors. The federal courts ruled otherwise.

**Ida Minerva Tarbell** was a teacher, author and journalist. She was known as one of the leading ”muckrakers” of her day, work known in modern times as ”investigative journalism.”

She wrote many notable magazine series and biographies. She is best-known for her 1904 book The History of the Standard Oil Company, which was listed number five among the top 100 works of twentieth-century American journalism by the New York Times in 1999.

The inspiration for her work of The History of the Standard Oil Company was a result of her father being put out of business by John D. Rockefeller

She had grown up in the western Pennsylvania oil regions where Henry H. Rogers had begun his career during the American Civil War. Beginning in 1902, she conducted detailed interviews with the Standard Oil magnate. Henry H. Rogers, wily and normally guarded in matters related to business and finance, may have been under the impression her work was to be complimentary. He was apparently uncustomarily forthcoming.

However, Tarbell’s interviews with Henry H. Rogers formed the basis for her negative exposé of the nefarious business practices of industrialist John D. Rockefeller and the massive Standard Oil organization.

Her work, which became known at the time as muckraking (and is now known as investigative journalism), first ran as a series of articles, presented in installments in McClure’s Magazine, which were later published together as a book, The History of the Standard Oil Company in 1904.

She exposed John D. Rockefeller’s ruthless tactics and their destructive effect on other smaller oil businesses.

Tarbell’s exposé fueled negative public sentiment against the company and was a contributing factor in the U.S. government’s antitrust legal actions against the Standard Oil Trust which eventually led to the breakup of the petroleum conglomerate in 1911.

Medical PhilosophyJohn Adams Tarbell graduated at Bowdoin and dedicated his book Homoeopathy Simplified in honour of his conversion to homeopathy (published by Otis Clapp). He was an editor of The Quarterly Homeopathic Journal alongside A C Becker, J E Birnstill and B De Gersdoff.

John Adams Tarbell explains in his book _Homoeopathy Simplified_ that orthodox medicine has always suffered from a lack of a basic philoophy, which had led to a mish mash of practice which is rarely effective and ever changing. Remedies and methods that were fiercely advocated in one period were ruthlessly discarded and forgotten later. The literature of orthodox medicine is littered with

“… erroneous theories, ephemeral views, dangerous experiments resulting in nothing substantial or reliable, and leaving for future generations no safe or unified system of therapeutics. Instead of an accumulation of facts, as in all other arts and sciences, there comes down to us a cumbersome collection of distracting fictions.

John Adams Tarbell claims that homeopathy on the other hand, is solidly based on scientific experimentation and provings to replace such blind prejudice, and only homeopathy can be seen as a true foundation of medical science.

John Adams Tarbell also wrote Eppa’s Domestic Homeopathisist, The Pocket Homeopathasist, Sources of Health and the Prevention of Disease


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