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Tough Tarbell Trivia - Printable Version

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RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Rob Wick - 11-24-2019 06:16 PM

Ida M. Tarbell was a pioneer in many ways. She was one of the first women in her area to attend college. She broke ground as a woman in a man's world when it came to journalism. She even flew in an airplane before many others had. Yet it wasn't until near her death in 1944 that she did this.



RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Eva Elisabeth - 11-24-2019 07:38 PM

Swimming? Cycling? Wearing pants?

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Rob Wick - 11-24-2019 07:48 PM

Sorry Eva, but none of those are correct. I have to admit that I doubt Tarbell ever wore pants for one minute of her life.


RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Steve - 11-25-2019 05:51 AM

Drive an automobile?

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - RJNorton - 11-25-2019 06:02 AM

Played golf?

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Gene C - 11-25-2019 08:57 AM


RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - L Verge - 11-25-2019 09:11 AM

Was she one of the women who refused to fight for the right to vote 100 years ago? So, vote?

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Rob Wick - 11-25-2019 11:07 AM

All are good guesses, but none are correct.

Clue:. She wished she had done this when she was younger.


RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Steve - 11-25-2019 11:33 AM

Talked on a telephone?

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Rob Wick - 11-25-2019 11:59 AM

Sorry Steve, but that's not it either.


RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Steve - 11-25-2019 12:41 PM

Install electricity in her home?

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Rob Wick - 11-25-2019 02:16 PM

Nope, that's not it.

I did this in high school.


RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Susan Higginbotham - 11-25-2019 02:30 PM

Learned to use a typewriter?

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Steve - 11-25-2019 02:36 PM

The only thing I can think of that would match something done in High School is... use a typewriter? That can't be right, can it? I took typing class (on a computer) when I was in Middle School.

EDIT: It looks like Susan posted the same guess as I was typing mine!

RE: Tough Tarbell Trivia - Rob Wick - 11-25-2019 02:50 PM

Both Susan and Steve nailed it. Tarbell never learned to use a typewriter until the early 1940s. Normally, she wrote her early drafts by hand (with rather atrocious handwriting, I might add) and then it was typed by a secretary. When she became a freelance writer she would write out her first draft and then speak into a dictaphone, which would then be typed by her secretary for her to edit. During World War II Tarbell couldn't find a secretary and so she taught herself to use a typewriter. Given that she was ordered to remain in bed because of a heart ailment, she used the time she had to improve her skills.

In the prologue to my book, I write the following:

For a woman afflicted by what she called “Mr. Parkinson,” and whose handwriting on a good day was often illegible, not being able to communicate could have silenced her voice permanently. Tarbell, drawing on an innate, almost superhuman strength, gamely fought back. “I had a heart attack [which was] supposed to kill me, but I refused to die!” she wrote in 1943, in a handwritten and surprisingly legible message with which she had obviously struggled to make readable.

She even taught herself to type, although as one looks at her letters, her output would charitably be called “unique” as she often had to creatively combine keys (such as the period and capital “I” to make an exclamation point) in order to complete a letter. She refused to be silenced. She laid in her bed, or for the few hours her doctors allowed her to sit up at a table, and poured her enervated heart out to those remaining friends who were still alive. To one of her closest, John S. Philips, Tarbell wrote, “What disturbs me most [is] that I am so slow. If I could write quickly I would have a lot of fun for to my surprise I can compose on the machine, quite as well as with pen.”