Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Recent Podcasts of Interest from the New Books Network

Over the summer, the podcast series, "New Books in . . . " interviewed a number of authors with books of interest. A partial listing:
Jonathan Coopersmith, on Faxed: The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine (Johns Hopkins University Press)
Christine Desan, on Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (Oxford University Press)
Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (Basic Books)
Pedro Machado, Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa, and the Indian Ocean, c. 1750-1850 (Cambridge University Press)
Brian P. Murphy, on Building the Empire State: Political Economy in the Early Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)
Suzanna Reiss, We Sell Drugs: The Alchemy of US Empire (University of California Press) [reposted from "Who Makes Cents?"]
Brett Sheehan, Industrial Eden: A Chinese Capitalist Vision (Harvard University Press)
Jenifer Van Vleck, on Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy (Harvard University Press) [reposted from "Who Makes Cents?"]
Shellen Wu, on Empires of Coal: Fueling China's Entry into the Modern World Order, 1860-1920 (Stanford University Press)
For the full History list, see here; for the complete listing of fields covered, see the New Books Network home page.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Corning Museum Celebrates the Centennial of Pyrex

The Corning Museum of Glass will celebrate the 100th birthday of Pyrex, a heat-resistant glass developed at Corning Glass Works, by devoting the 54th Annual Glass Seminar to "Pyrex and Material Culture." Speakers include academic researchers on material life, domestic life, the history of architecture and space, and the history of food, along with designers and marketers from Corning, Inc., as well as antique dealers and collectors. Reggie Blaszczyk, professor of Business History and Leadership Chair in the History of Business and Society at the University of Leeds, will give the keynote address on the history of Pyrex, drawing on research for her book, Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000). Imagining Consumers was the first book to examine the innovation process behind Pyrex, digging deep into the archives to explain how chemists, physicists, and home economists developed a household glass that didn't break. The book received the 2001 Hagley Prize for the Best Book in Business History.
   Learn more about the meeting at the Seminar website; the full program is here.
   Readers can also learn much more about Pyrex at the Museum's online exhibit, "Pyrex Potluck."

Friday, August 28, 2015

Christy Chapin Blogs on HNN about U.S. Health Care History

Christy Ford Chapin, assistant professor in the history department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), has written a blog post for the History News Network (HNN) on the historical roots of current U.S. health care debates. She addresses the topic as the author of Ensuring America's Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System (Cambridge University Press, June 2015). Professor Chapin also has written a longer discussion of her book and the history of U.S. health care on the blog, "The Plot: Politics Decoded."
    Her research interests include political, economic, and business history with a focus on the history of capitalism. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University, working on a project on the history of capitalism with Louis Galambos and Angus Burgin. Professor Chapin was a member of the Business History Conference's Doctoral Colloquium in 2009; as a graduate student at the University of Virginia she was also awarded a Miller Center for Public Affairs Fellowship and a John E. Rovensky Fellowship in American Business and Economic History.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gartner Group Records Available to Researchers

The Charles Babbage Institute (CBI) at the University of Minnesota announces the availability of the Gartner Group Records (CBI 228). The 57 linear feet of materials was donated by Sarah and Gideon Gartner in 2010 and 2014. The collection documents a major information technology consultancy during the years 1981 to 2000. These records reflect the Gartner Group's role as a leading information technology research company, including correspondence, research files, technology research publications, published reports, client workshops and conferences, and documentation regarding information gathering and reporting.  Companies represented include International Business Machines and many others. The records must be consulted onsite. A detailed finding guide may be found at CBI makes available modest travel-to-collection support each year; the next application deadline is January 15, 2016.
    For more information about the many other holdings of the CBI, including its digital projects, please see the Institute's website.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Princeton Fellowship Topic Is “Risk and Fortune”

During the academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University will focus on the topic of “Risk and Fortune.” According to the website:
Notions of risk have been important to human societies for centuries. Soothsaying, insurance, medical prognostication, financial investment, and gambling all contend with—or try to contain—possible losses. Conversely, good fortune has had its talismans and theorists throughout history. How have different cultures tried to tame chance, or comprehend its whims? To what degree have the practices of commerce relied upon, or alternatively reified, risk? Do technological systems generate hazards they are not capable of controlling? This two-year seminar will bring together scholars working on risk and fortune in historical societies around the world in all time periods, on topics including (but not restricted to) economics, science, religion, industry, statistics, and agriculture.
More about Davis Center Fellowships, which are residential, can be found here; application materials are here. Inquiries may be addressed to Applicants must have their doctoral degrees in hand at the time of application. The submission deadline is December 1, 2015
    The Davis Center's goal is to foster research on chosen themes through a weekly seminar, conferences, and workshops. Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary approaches and subjects that span different geographical areas and periods. The director is Philip Nord.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Virginia Magazine Features Advertising History

Virginia Magazine has posted a large sampling of twentieth-century advertisements from vintage issues of the magazine, each with a short commentary by University of Virginia history professor and BackStory [with the American History Guys] co-host Brian Balogh. As the website notes, "As much as these ads tell us about the products they advertise, they also reflect cultural anxieties about war, money and gender roles." The ads are divided by topic ("Men," "Women," "Technology," "Cigarettes," and "Curiosities") and by time period.
    The site also includes a link to BackStory's program on "Advertising in America."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Research: Business History in the Archives

Studio of Tingqua, Packing Tea, © Peabody Essex Museum 2006. Photo by Jeffrey Dykes
Many archives now have at least one blog, often used  to present snippets of interesting research that feature the institution's holdings. Some time ago, we highlighted the Hagley's "Stories from the Stacks," a podcast in which scholars discuss their research in light of materials found in the Hagley archives. Another blog of interest is Conversant, the blog of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts. Recently Dan Du served as a guest blogger for Conversant, writing about "A Tea Talk: Discovering the History of American Tea Business at the Phillips Library." Dan Du is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia, working on her dissertation, “This World in a Teacup: Chinese-American Tea Trade in the Nineteenth Century,” which examines a century-long commercial and cultural interaction between Chinese and Americans through the lens of tea.
    Other business history-related posts from Conversant include "Land Disputes in the White Mountains" (parts I and II); "Colonial Corruption: The Failed Reform of His Majesty's Customs in Colonial America in the 1760s"; "The Fernald and Petigrew Shipyard Papers"; "David Pingree (1795-1863), Shipping Merchant"; and "David Pingree (1795-1863), Lumber Baron."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Video Resource: AP Archives and British Movietone on YouTube

Ponzi scheme head Bernie Madoff in custody, 2009
In June, the Associated Press (AP) launched a YouTube channel of its archival collection, at the same time posting the British Movietone collection. According to the AP press release,
The two channels will act as a view-on-demand visual encyclopedia, offering a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history. Available for all to explore, the channels will also be powerful educational tools and a source of inspiration for history enthusiasts and documentary filmmakers. The YouTube channels will include more than 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day.  
The two collections together bring more than a million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube, and the channels will be continually refreshed with up-to-date contemporary footage. Last year, U.K. newsreel archive company British Pathé uploaded its entire 100-year library of 85,000 historic films in high definition to YouTube, comprising some 3,500 hours of footage.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Alexander Hamilton Hits Broadway

After a successful off-Broadway run at the Public Theater, Hamilton: An American Musical officially opened on Broadway earlier this month at the Richard Rodgers Theater. In a perhaps unlikely bit of artistic imagining, writer and lead actor Lin-Manuel Miranda has crafted a hip-hop musical depicting the life of Alexander Hamilton in which most of the actors in starring roles are black or Hispanic. The playbill from the Public Theater version asks, "Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?" Miranda has said he became interested in Hamilton after reading Ron Chernow's 2004 biography.
    The play has won the enthusiastic approval of both historians and theater critics. It has been discussed twice on the early American history blog, "The Junto": first by Benjamin Carp in its off-Broadway incarnation and again by Christopher Minty, who attended the Broadway version. It won a rave review from Ben Brantley of the New York Times. Christopher Minty writes,
by putting history back in the public domain, Miranda’s Hamilton is playing an important role in influencing how we remember eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American history. . . . Hamilton: An American Musical should bridge the gap between “popular” and “academic” audiences. . . . Most important, Hamilton is a powerful reminder that history does not belong exclusively to those who study it for a living. Far from it, in fact. As is shown by a cast of multi-ethnic and -genre performers, history is something which everyone has a right to engage with and interpret for themselves.
    The New York Public Library has created a summary of Hamilton's life as depicted in the play using its own digitized collections.
   Readers can see a YouTube video of a CBS interview with Miranda and excerpts from the musical in its Public Theater version.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

CFP: “Atlantic Environments and the American South”

The Rice University Humanities Research Center and the Department of History are sponsoring a conference, "Atlantic Environments and the American South," to take place at Rice on February 5-6, 2016. This conference
will explore the ways in which the myriad flows of peoples, commodities, and ideas interacted with the environments of the greater Atlantic basin as a result of the increasingly close relationship between the Americas, Africa, and Europe. . . . By looking at how cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice and a host of other commodities moved between the southern United States and the larger Atlantic world this conference will be primarily concerned with how people altered, interacted with, and thought about the environments of the South and the Atlantic. 
According to the call for papers, possible topics include:
  • Commodity flows
  • Production/consumption networks
  • Ideas of the environment
  • Local/regional/national/international scales
  • Nation building
  • Migration
  • Enslaved and free labor
  • Cultural formation
  • Imperial/inter-imperial relations
  • Weather and climate
Proposals must be received by September 15, 2015. For submission details and a fuller exposition of the conference goals, please see the complete call for papers.