Sunday, July 5, 2015

Over the Counter: Issue No. 17

Geoffrey Jones of Harvard Business School published an article in "Live Mint" titled "History has its place in business: Learning from the past about the consequences of decisions should surely be part of every manager’s toolkit."

In the United States recently there has been a movement, "Women on 20s," to replace Andrew Jackson (who, among other things, vetoed the rechartering of the Second Bank of the US) on the $20 bill with a woman. But the Treasury announced that it would replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, causing dismay among many, including those who began the campaign. See Brian Phillips Murphy's reaction on this MSNBC video. Former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke also weighed in.

The program for last month's Yale conference. "Grassroots Modernities: Nature, Agriculture, and Improvement in the Atlantic World," is available online. Also at Yale: most papers from the Yale Economic History Workshop, 2001-2011, are archived and freely available.

Another program of interest: "France and Its Empire in the Global Economy, 1815-1939," held June 9 at the University of Cambridge and sponsored by the Centre for History and Economics.

Episode 19 of the podcast "Historically Thinking" features Vicki Howard, discussing her new book, From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Stephen Mihm of the University of Georgia discusses the U.S. reluctance to adopt the metric system in The Atlantic online.

June 18, 2015, was the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Drew Keeling reflects on "Business History: Dividends of Waterloo" for the Wharton Magazine.

The July 2015 issue of the Journal of Global History is a special number on "Communicating Global Capitalism," edited by Heidi Tworek and Simone M. Müller.

From the Washington Post: animated gifs showing the evolution of some famous corporate logos.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

BHC Prize Recipients Announced

At the Business History Conference Annual Meeting on June 24-28, 2015, in Miami, Florida, officers announced the following recipients of BHC prizes and grants:

Lifetime Achievement Award
The award is bestowed every two years to a scholar who has contributed significantly to the work of the Business History Conference and to scholarship in business history.
2015 recipient: Juliet E. K. Walker, University of Texas at Austin 
Hagley Prize 
The prize is awarded jointly by the Hagley Museum and Library and the Business History Conference to the best book in business history (broadly defined) written in English and published during the two years prior to the award.
2015 recipient: Walter Friedman, Fortune Tellers: The Story of America's First Economic Forecasters (Princeton University Press, 2013). Affiliation: Harvard Business School 
Ralph Gomory Prize 
This prize, made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, recognizes historical work on the effects of business enterprises on the economic conditions of the countries in which they operate. Prizes are awarded to a book or books published during the two years prior to the award.
2015 recipients: Emily Erikson, Between Monopoly and Free Trade: The English East India Company, 1600-1757 (Princeton University Press, 2014). Affiliation: Yale University
Kathryn Steen, The American Synthetic Organic Chemicals Industry: War and Politics 1910-1930 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014). Affiliation: Drexel University
Herman E. Krooss Prize 
The prize recognizes the best dissertation in business history written in English and completed in the three calendar years immediately prior to the annual meeting.
2015 recipient: David Singerman, "Inventing Purity in the Atlantic Sugar World, 1860-1930" (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014). Affiliation: Rutgers University
Philip Scranton Best Article Prize 
This prize recognizes the author or authors of an article published in Enterprise & Society judged to be the best of those that have appeared in the volume previous to the year of the BHC annual meeting. It is named in recognition of Philip Scranton’s deep contributions to Enterprise & Society and is generously funded by Cambridge University Press.
2015 recipients: Marc Flandreau and Gabriel Geisler Mesevage, “The untold history of transparency: mercantile agencies, the law, and the lawyers (1851-1916)” Enterprise & Society 15: 2 (June 2014), 213-51. Affiliation (both): Institut De Hautes Études Internationales Et Du Développement, Geneva. 
Mira Wilkins Prize
This prize, established in recognition of the path-breaking scholarship of Mira Wilkins, is awarded to the author of the best Enterprise & Society article pertaining to international and comparative business history published the volume previous to the year of the BHC annual meeting.
2015 recipient: Paula de la Cruz Fernández, “Marketing the Hearth: Ornamental Embroidery and the Building of the Multinational Singer Sewing Machine Company,” Enterprise and Society 15, 3 (September 2014), 442-71. Affiliation: Florida International University 
K. Austin Kerr Prize 
The prize recognizes the best first paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Business History Conference by a new scholar (doctoral student or those within three years of receiving their Ph.D). It honors K. Austin Kerr, longtime professor of history at the Ohio State University and former president of the Business History Conference.
2015 recipients: Paige Glotzer, “National Standards, Local Sales: The Professional Culture of Real Estate and the Creation of an Exclusionary Housing Market.” Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University
Joseph Slaughter, “Christian Business Enterprise Reform: The Pioneer Line, 1828-1831.” Affiliation: University of Maryland, College Park 
The Halloran Prize in the History of Corporate Responsibility 
The prize recognizes a paper presented at the BHC annual meeting that makes a significant contribution to the history of corporate responsibility. It is funded by the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) at the University of St.Thomas Opus College of Business in honor of Harry R. Halloran, Jr.
2015 recipient: Owen James Hyman, “Why a West Coast Paper Company Went South: Corporate Expansion and Civil Rights in the Deep South.” Affiliation: Mississippi State University 
For more information about these prizes, go to or contact BHC secretary-treasurer Roger Horowitz,

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Organization: Canadian Business History Association

A new organization for Canadian business history is being formed: the Canadian Business History Association/l’association Canadienne pour l’histoire des affaires (CBHA/ACHA). According to the group's new website,
Our specific aims include encouraging more studies of enterprise by Canadians and in Canada, helping build and maintain well-structured and open business archives, providing those who study business history a forum for discussing their research with those who practice business, encouraging research projects on relevant subjects and providing funding for such research,  and in general encouraging the study of business history in Canada.
The group is in its formative stages and has not yet opened to membership, but this step will occur in the near future. The CBHA/ACHA intends to hold its first general meeting in October 2015, when it will combine a symposium on business history associations in the world, business history in Canada, and its first annual meeting of members.
    The interim Steering Committee members are Dimitry Anastakis, professor of business history, Trent University; Mark S. Bonham, economist and investment manager with Bonham & Co., Inc.; Christopher Kobrak, Wilson/Currie Chair of Canadian Business and Financial History at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and a professor of finance at ESCP Europe, Paris; Joe Martin, director of the Canadian Business History Program, adjunct professor of strategy, and Executive in Residence at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; J. Andrew Ross, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Guelph; and M. Stephen Salmon, former business archivist at Library and Archives Canada.

Hat tip: Andrew Smith at The Past Speaks

Friday, June 26, 2015

“Taylor's World” Conference Registration Open

The Samuel C. Williams Library and the College of Arts and Letters at Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) are holding a conference on September 24-25, 2015, "Taylor's World," to celebrate the achievements and legacy of Frederick Winslow Taylor, who was a Stevens graduate. This conference marks the centennial of Taylor’s death in 1915, and will explore both Taylor’s place in history and his legacy in the twenty-first century. The program has now been posted, as well as information about accommodations and registration. Online registration must be completed by September 3. General questions regarding the "Taylor’s World" conference can be directed to Leah Loscutoff:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Web Exhibit: Fashion and Consumption in the First World War

The Institute of Historical Research, in collaboration with Senate House Library, has announced the launch of a new online exhibition of digitized fashion catalogues from the First World War: "Fashion and Consumption in the First World War: Department Store Catalogues 1916-17." These select catalogues of women’s clothing illustrate the war’s impact on materials, the roles of women, and fashion itself. According to Dr. Jordan Landes, research librarian at the Senate House Library, "The combined impacts of lower consumer spending, reduced availability of higher quality fabrics and a growing need for clothing that allowed freedom of movement for women to work shaped the fashions following 1915." The site includes short essays on relevant topics and many full catalogues from the period.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Martin Daunton Delivers 2015 Tawney Lecture

The Tawney Lecture is given each year at the annual conference of the Economic History Society (EHS). In 2015, the Lecture was presented by Martin Daunton, Head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Economic History at the University of Cambridge. His topic was "Contesting Reconstruction: Remaking the Global Economic Order." According to the précis, Daunton
considers the conflicting and contested notions of the reconstruction of the world economy after the Second World War. He shows how the debates at Bretton Woods should be placed in a much wider context than monetary policy. . . . The proposals reflected different relations between domestic and international politics in each country; and the outcome reflected the ability to balance these competing imperatives, the success in building coalitions around ideas or interests, and the design of the international institutions.
The video of the talk is available on the EHS website. The EHS website provides a full list of Tawney Lectures available via podcast.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Catching Up with Piketty before the BHC-EBHA Meeting

The Business History Conference's annual meeting, this year to be held jointly with the European Business History Association, begins next Wednesday in Miami, Florida. On-line registration is now closed, but it is still possible to register in person.
    As reported earlier, the keynote address will be given by Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics; he and his 2014 book, Capital in the 21st Century (Harvard University Press) have been much in the news during the year. Readers following the discussion may be interested in two recent sources:
    An extensive list of reviews, commentary, and author interviews can be found on the HUP website

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CFP: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal Special Issue

The Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (SEJ) has issued a call for papers for a special issue on "Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Research: Investigating Context, Time, and Change in Entrepreneurial Processes." Guest editors for the issue will be R. Daniel Wadhwani, University of the Pacific; David A. Kirsch, University of Maryland; William B. Gartner, California Lutheran University and Copenhagen Business School; Friederike Welter, IfM Bonn and University of Siegen, Germany; and Geoffrey Jones, Harvard Business School.
    According to the call for papers,
For this special issue, we seek theoretical and empirical work that significantly advances our understanding of whether and how historical research and reasoning can contribute to our understanding of entrepreneurship. In this regard, we encourage submissions that not only make contributions to entrepreneurship research and theory, but also engage the methodological and theoretical issues involved in using historical approaches in the management disciplines. . . . We welcome a broad range of ways to conceptualize and integrate history in entrepreneurship research, including as a set of sources and methods, as context (e.g. industry evolution), as an independent variable (experience at firm or founder level), as a mechanism (process, path dependency, or way of interpreting the past), or an outcome (e.g.historical performance).
For a more extensive discussion of possible topics and questions, please see the full call for papers.
       The deadline for submissions, which must be made via the SEJ website, is July 15, 2016.

Monday, June 15, 2015

“Places of Invention” at the Lemelson Center

The "Places of Invention" exhibition will open on July 1, 2015 at the Smithsonian Museum's Lemelson Center for the Study of Innovation and Invention in Washington, DC. According to the website, "the exhibition will take visitors on a journey through time and place to meet people who lived, worked, played, collaborated, adapted, took risks, solved problems, and sometimes failed—all in the pursuit of something new." The physical exhibit will feature six communities: Silicon Valley, 1970-80s; the Bronx, 1970s; Medical Alley, 1950s; Hartford, late 1800s; Hollywood, 1930s; and Fort Collins, 2010. The accompanying website includes an interactive map detailing many more "places of invention," with their accompanying stories.This is an ongoing project, with more materials to be added to the online version over time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

EHA Conference Program Available

The next meeting of the Economic History Association (EHA) will be held on September 11-13, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee. The theme of the meeting is "Diversity in Economic History." The program has now been posted on the EHA website; readers can also access the full conference brochure, which contains information about accommodations and travel. The deadline for receiving the group rate at the conference hotel is August 10.
    The EHA is marking its 75th anniversary; the presidential address will be delivered by Robert Margo, who will speak on "Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality." For more information, please consult the conference website. Questions may be addressed to Jari Eloranta.