Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Richard John on Tom McCraw in the BHR

Readers will be interested in a review essay by Richard R. John, to be published in the Business History Review and currently available online as a free access article at the CUP website. Entitled "Prophet of Perspective: Thomas K. McCraw," the essay uses McCraw's last book, The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy (2012), as a focus for understanding his scholarship overall. As John explains,
This essay provides a brief survey of McCraw’s ideas about economic policy and capitalism. Other reviewers might have chosen different themes; possibilities include the relationship between the United States and the world, the advantages and disadvantages of biography as a literary form, and even the contrasting aesthetics of history and social science. Even so, I believe that the two I have chosen provide a revealing perspective on McCraw’s most abiding concerns. This essay has three parts. The first part provides a brief overview of McCraw’s intellectual milieu; the second part surveys his contributions to our understanding of economic policy and capitalism; and the third part shows how in The Founders and Finance McCraw combined his interests in economic policy and capitalism to reinterpret a pivotal event in the American past.
Richard R. John is a professor of history and communications at Columbia University. He is a long-time member and past president of the Business History Conference. His most notable books are Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (2010) and Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse (1995). He is currently working on a history of anti-monopoly in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present.

Monday, March 23, 2015

BHC-EBHA 2015 Meeting Draft Program Posted

The 2015 joint meeting of the Business History Conference and the European Business History Association will be held in Miami, Florida, on June 24-27. The theme of the meeting will be “Inequalities: Winners and Losers in Business.” Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the 21st Century, will deliver the joint meeting's plenary address.
     The preliminary program has now been posted on the meeting website. In addition to pre-meeting workshops, plenaries, receptions, and organized local activities in Miami, the conference will feature 88 regular sessions on topics broadly spanning the field of business history.       
     This will be the fourth joint meeting of the Business History Conference and the European Business History Association.

Friday, March 20, 2015

CFP: Association of Academic Historians in Australian and New Zealand Business Schools

AUT Business School
The Association of Academic Historians in Australian and New Zealand Business Schools (AAHANZBS) will hold its seventh Annual Conference on November 2-3, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. The Business and Labour History Group (B&LHG) of the Work Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology (AUT) University Business School will host the meeting, which will have the theme "Global Business Practices in Historical Perspective"

Submissions are invited for papers addressing the conference theme, including papers relating to accounting history, business history, economic history, labor history, management history, marketing history, tourism history, transport history and other areas of interest relating to historical research in business schools. Papers / panel suggestions around teaching and pedagogy relating to business and labor history are also welcome, as are papers from researchers outside business schools who have an interest in these fields of study. Both abstracts and full papers may be submitted. Full papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Please submit either a 1000-word abstract or a 6,000-word maximum paper for refereeing by June 12, 2015, to Simon Mowatt at The abstract should provide:
  • A summary of the argument of the paper 
  • A summary of the findings of the paper 
  • A selected list of references for the paper 
Postgraduate Student Awards: The B&LHG is pleased to be able to offer up to four competitive travel support awards for Postgraduate Students of NZ$250 each plus free registration. These will be awarded to the best full papers as decided by the AAHANZBS conference committee. Details of these awards, including conditions and eligibility, will be published in April on the conference homepage.

Please check the full call for papers for additional information.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Job Opening: Curator for Business History at the NMAH

The National Museum of American History (NMAH) at the Smithsonian Institution has announced a search for a curator of business history. This is a new full-time permanent position, classified GS-13 ($90,823.00 to $118,069.00). The museum is looking for a business historian with curatorial experience (with a history of technology, public history, and social history perspective more than an economic history cliometrician). Ideally the candidate will have an interest in expanding collections and preparing exhibitions as well as a record of academic publications and speaking. The emphasis will be on U.S. history post-World War II. One major responsibility will be continuing to build on the opportunities offered by the upcoming American Enterprise exhibition. The expectation is that the individual will work with active companies, so the ability to undertake oral history projects and archival collecting as well as artifact collecting will be important.
    The full job description can be found here; the closing date for applications is April 10, 2015.
    Questions may be directed to Peter Liebhold at the NMAH.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Web Resources: Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, so we set out below a few of the many on-line resources available, particularly those with relevance to business and economic history:

US government sources organized and linked

The Museum of American Finance has posted on-line some materials from its "Women of Wall Street" exhibit.

One of the themes at FRASER, the Federal Reserve's historical archives, is "Women in the Economy."

Cambridge University Press is providing open access for the month to a large collection of articles related to women in history, includingwork by Sara Evans, Angel Kwolek-Folland, Ann Carlos and Larry Neal, and Margaret Walsh.

The National Women's History Museum has several on-line exhibits, including "Entrepreneurial Women" and "Women in Industry."

Wells Fargo has a web exhibit on "Women Making Financial History."

HSBC has an exhibit series on "Women in Banking," beginning with 1907-1914.

One of many websites that focus on women in early computer history, from Ada Lovelace to Grace Cooper: NPR on "The Forgotten Female Programmer."

Similarly, The Ada Project at Carnegie Mellon University supplies brief biographies of women connected to computing.

Famous Women Inventors provides biographies of a group of women inventors, as does the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center essay, "Innovative Lives."

Finally, for a long list of links to websites connected to women in business history, readers might want to check out the BHC's WiBH resource page.

Monday, March 9, 2015

CFP: “Doing Business across Borders”

The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware, will hold on conference on "Doing Business across Borders" on November 6, 2015.
     The Center invites proposals for original papers on the way business activities (broadly conceived) have forged connections across the boundaries of nations, colonies, and empires. The papers should be historical and rely on empirical research to locate these episodes in discrete places and times, and preferably trace multidirectional relationships generated in the process of crossing borders. Business activities may include the movement of goods, services, ideas, capital, technology, and people, and include commercial diasporas organized around ethnicity, religion, or family; entrepreneurship; multinational firms; illicit practices (e.g. smuggling and piracy); family businesses and networks; and state-chartered entities. Scholarship developed under the rubric of globalization is welcome, especially if such proposals engage with scholarly critiques of this concept. Papers may consider any area of the world after 1700.
     Possible topics may include:
  • transfers of business models and practices, such as bookkeeping, scientific management, decentralized firm structures, conceptually as well as empirically addressing what has moved 
  • transitions in size and scale, and/or changes in organizational complexity and practices 
  • role of oceans, ports, harbors, rivers, and lakes; 
  • commercial hubs and hinterlands; obstacles and opportunities created by landscapes and geography; and other analytic frames for considering the role of business forging cross-border relationships 
  • the durable nature of borders, boundaries, and barriers and the challenges entailed in surmounting them 
  • connections between seeming antinomies, e.g. international firms and home production; unfree labor systems and reliance on wage labor; knowledge-based commodities with routinized manufacturing; democratic societies and dictatorships 
  • persistence of obstacles and barriers to business activity as well as their effacement in law and practice
  • business activities and labor markets for which borders are irrelevant 
Proposals may be up to 500 words, and should include a summary of the paper’s argument, the sources on which it draws, and the scholarship with which it engages. Work must be original and not previously published. A short c.v. or resume should accompany the proposal. The deadline for receipt of all materials is June 1, 2015; submissions should be sent via email to Carol Lockman, Presenters will receive travel support to cover most costs to attend the conference.

Friday, March 6, 2015

March 2015 Enterprise & Society Now Available

Beginning with the March 2015 issue, Enterprise & Society has both a new editor and a new publisher: Andrew Popp of the University of Liverpool assumes the editorship; the journal is now published by  Cambridge University Press. Readers who are Business History Conference members may access journal content from the BHC website when they are logged in. The table of contents for the March issue includes:
Daniel Levinson Wilk, "The Red Cap's Gift: How Tipping Tempers the Rational Power of Money"
Robert Crawford, "Relocating Centers and Peripheries: Transnational Advertising Agencies and Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s"
Emre Balikçi, "Turkey’s Small Capital, A Player from the Start: Relations with the State and Big Capital"
Gabriel Winant, " 'Green Pastures of Plenty from Dry Desert Ground': Nature, Labor, and the Growth and Structure of a California Grape Company"
David M. Higgins and Mads Mordhorst, "Bringing Home the 'Danish' Bacon: Food Chains, National Branding and Danish Supremacy over the British Bacon Market, c. 1900-1938"
The issue also contains an introduction from editor Andrew Popp.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CFP: Business History Special Issue on East Asian Businesses in Europe

Guest editors Hinrich Voss, Sierk Horn, and Jeremy Clegg, all of the University of Leeds, have issued a call for submissions for a special issue of Business History on "The Evolution of Embeddedness and Adaptation of East Asian Businesses in Europe." According to the call for papers,
The influx of East Asian enterprises into Europe has a long history. Japanese business engagements in Europe stretch back for over more than 100 years and have, in this period, constantly evolved and adapted. Early Taiwanese investments date back to the 1950s and Korean firms have explored European markets since the mid-1970s, when car manufacturer Daewoo opened its first trading office in Germany. Foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational firms often plays a key role in the economic development of host nations by enhancing human capital, conferring technology spillovers, and competitiveness  – and the evidence is that Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese investments have benefited European host countries. . . . Analysing and comparing how Chinese investors, and investors from other East Asian nations, have approached and developed in Europe over time will yield important insights for scholarly understanding and for practitioners in European and other host countries. Contributions are invited to investigate how and to what extent East Asian firms in Europe have evolved, while adapting to a different institutional context and embedding in the local economies.
     For suggested topics, submission guidelines, and a fuller discussion of the subject, please see the complete call for papers.
     Manuscripts should be submitted online at no later than May 31, 2015.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Web Resource: FRASER

The Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER) was created in 2004 as a data preservation and accessibility project of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. FRASER’s mission is to safeguard and provide easy access to economic history—particularly the history of the Federal Reserve System. The site contains a very large selection of historical materials; one easy point of entry is the "Browse by Theme" section. In addition to materials pertaining to each Federal Reserve bank, topics include "Depressions and Panics," "Gold, Silver, and Greenbacks," and "Women in the Economy." The site also contains a collection of the primary sources used by Allan Meltzer for his History of the Federal Reserve and a Finding Aid for Record Group 82, the Records of the Federal Reserve System at the National Archives. One can also browse by title, author, or date.
    Those wishing to receive notices about FRASER materials can subscribe to two different RSS feeds and a newsletter, or access the FRASER Twitter feed.

Friday, February 27, 2015

CFP: “Jewish Commercial Cultures in Global Perspective”

Merchants of Salonica
The Borns Jewish Studies Program and the Department of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, invite proposals for papers to be presented at a workshop on “Jewish Commercial Cultures in Global Perspective.” The workshop will take place October 11-12, 2015, and will feature new research on Jews and commerce in the period in the period in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. According to the call for papers,
We seek paper proposals specifically from junior scholars (advance PhD, post-doctoral and early career historians) whose work will be engaged by established Jewish, economic, and global historians participating as keynote speakers, panel discussants and roundtable participants. The workshop aims to introduce the notion of “Jewish commercial cultures” to discussions about networks, mobility, empires, migration and material life. We welcome especially proposals that examine Jewish merchants beyond trading diaspora frameworks, the overly determining contexts of “family” and “community”, or discuss their stereotypical representations in non-Jewish and anti-Jewish discourses. This includes approaches that view Jewish merchants anew as commercial citizens and legal agents in various regional and global settings from the early 18th- to the mid-20th centuries, a period shaped by the interrelated processes of an expanding modern culture (and technology) of commerce and the expansion and retraction of western and non-western empires. 
Proposals should include a maximum 500-word abstract explaining the paper’s main hypothesis, its innovations, and the sources used as well as a CV. Accommodation and meals will be covered for the selected participants. Funding toward travel expenses is available on a limited basis. For details, please indicate your interest in your proposal.
      Please send the proposals to by March 15, 2015. For additional details about the conference please see the full call for papers.