Standard Oil's Monopoly: Topics in Chronicling America
In the early 1900s, Standard Oil Co., chaired by John Rockefeller, was a powerful monopoly dissolved by SCOTUS. This guide provides access to materials related to “Standard Oil's Monopoly” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspape
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
At the beginning of the 20th century Standard Oil Co. was one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations and its chairman, John D. Rockefeller, was the first billionaire. While people were divided about whether monopolies were good for society, exposés by the muckraker Ida Tarbell detailing the company’s strong-arm practices against rivals, railroad companies and others eventually turned public opinion against it. In 1911 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Trust be dissolved under the Sherman Antitrust Act and split into 34 companies. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
Standard Oil gets control of railroads along east coast.
February 20, 1905
Kansas declares war on Standard Oil.
February 21, 1905
Kansas Congressman P.P. Campbell petitions against Standard Oil.
May 10, 1906
Previous Standard Oil employee admits to spying on the company’s behalf.
October 31, 1907
Kansas Supreme Court receives inconsistent answers on Standard Oil's trusts.
January 31, 1908
President Roosevelt publicly states an attack on Standard Oil and law-defying rich citizens.
May 18, 1911
US Supreme Court dissolves Standard Oil trusts, company has six months to comply.