Saturday, May 29, 2010

Journal of Management Studies Special Issue on Business History

The July 2010 issue of the Journal of Management Studies is a theme issue on business history--more specifically, on the advantages of a "closer engagement" between business history and management studies. The guest editors are Mary O'Sullivan of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Margaret B. W. Graham of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, and Christopher McKenna of Oxford's Saïd Business School.
     O'Sullivan and Graham write in their introduction:
In this introduction we . . .  highlight how the articles published in this Special Issue show the wide variety of intellectual purposes, approaches, and benefits that closer engagement between business history and management theories might entail. . . .  we propose a more deliberate conversation about what it is we do as historians and theorists of business and what we seek to accomplish. Such a discussion would help us not only to better understand the limits to fruitful integration but also how to work together more productively in the collaborations that seem most worthwhile.
Articles include:
Mary O'Sullivan and Margaret Graham
    "Editor's Introduction: Moving Forward by Looking Backward: Business History and Management Studies"

Stephanie Decker
     "Postcolonial Transitions in Africa: Decolonization in West Africa and Present Day South Africa"

Juha-Antii Lamberg and Kalle Pajunen
     "Agency, Institutional Change, and Continuity: The Case of the Finnish Civil War"

James Reveley and Simon Ville
     "Enhancing Industry Association Theory: A Comparative Business History Contribution"

Marcelo Bucheli, Joseph T. Mahoney, and Paul M. Vaaler
     "Chandler's Living History: The Visible Hand of Vertical Integration in Nineteenth Century America Viewed under a Twenty-First Century Transaction Costs Economics Lens"

Mark Jenkins
     "Technological Discontinuities and Competitive Advantage: A Historical Perspective on Formula 1 Motor Racing, 1950-2006"
Full access requires a personal or institutional subscription, but abstracts are freely available.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"The High Art of Photographic Advertising," from Baker Library

Gordon Coster. Advertisement for Lord & Taylor, ca. 1934; 1934 Art and 
Industry Exhibition Photograph Collection, Baker Library Historical 
Laura Linard of Harvard Business School's Baker Library sends word of a new physical and on-line exhibit, "The High Art of Photographic Advertising," organized by Historical Collections at Baker.  From the exhibit announcement:
In 1934, a stunning photographic exhibition sponsored by the National Alliance of Art and Industry (NAAI) and the Photographic Illustrators, Inc., opened at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The show featured works by the top photographers of the day–including Russell Aikins, Margaret Bourke-White, Nickolas Muray, John Paul Pennebaker, and William Rittase–with a particular emphasis on advertising and industrial images. A year later the NAAI donated over 100 prints from the exhibition to the Harvard Business School, which at the time was actively collecting photographs for exhibition and classroom use. By the 1930s, photography prevailed as the predominant media for print advertising. The images chosen for the NAAI exhibition reveal the inventive visual language with which photographers were experimenting and social and material ideals to which advertisers hoped consumers would aspire.
 “The High Art of Photographic Advertising,” organized by Baker Library Historical Collections, revisits the original 1934 exhibition, exploring the synergy between photography and corporate culture of the time and how 75 years later, the collection survives as a telling chapter in evolving perceptions about photography’s artistic, commercial, and cultural significance. 
Lakeside Press Studios. Color Advertisement, ca. 1934; 1934 Art and
Industry Exhibition, Photograph Collection, Baker Library.
For those in the Boston area, the physical exhibit will run through October 9, 2010, in the North Lobby of Baker Library (the Bloomberg Center); gallery talks will be presented on Thursday, June 17, 2010, and September 23, 2010, at 4:00 p.m.

Monday, May 24, 2010

CFP: CHARM Conference, 2011

The organizers invite submissions from business historians to the 2011 Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM), sponsored by Quinnipiac University and to be held in New York City, May 19-22, 2011. Papers on all aspects of marketing history and the history of marketing thought in all geographic areas and all time frames are welcome. Methodological, pedagogical, and historiographic submissions are also invited.

All paper submissions will be double-blind reviewed and a proceedings volume will be published. Full papers (25-page maximum) or extended abstracts may be submitted. Authors may choose to publish either full papers or extended abstracts in the proceedings. To provide reviewers with sufficient information, extended abstracts should be 1,200-1,500 words in length and should include: the research purpose, source material or data, and sample references.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2010.
For more information, please visit the complete call for papers.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Puritans as Entrepreneurs?

Business and economic historians might be interested in Nick Bunker's Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World, A New History (Random House, April, 2010).  It is reviewed, for example, in the Washington Post by Yale's John Demos, at, and in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review by Russell Shorto (author of The Island at the Center of the World). A Financial Times review of the British edition is also available. Bunker, formerly an investment banker, offers a wide-ranging view of the English settlers as concerned not only with God, but also with politics and profit. In the words of the FT reviewer:
The religious zeal of the Separatists, which has long been seen as the driving force behind the foundation of New England, is revealed by Bunker to be as much a tool for gaining financial backing as the following of a call from a higher being. Indeed the Pilgrims often appear to have been guided as much by the Invisible Hand of the market as by that of Jehovah.
Among scholars of the period, the view of the Pilgrims as complex people with complex motives is not entirely new, but, as John Demos writes, "Bunker does far better than any predecessor at recreating the entire climate in which Pilgrim thought and action emerged. "
    Readers can find excerpts from the book on the NYTimes page, as well as on the Random House site

Friday, May 21, 2010

Geoffrey Jones's History of the Beauty Industry

Geoffrey Jones, the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History at the Harvard Business School, has recently published Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry (Oxford University Press, Feb. 2010).  In the words of the OUP blurb:
This book provides the first authoritative history of the global beauty industry from its emergence in the nineteenth century to the present day, exploring how today's global giants grew. It shows how successive generations of entrepreneurs built brands which shaped perceptions of beauty, and the business organizations needed to market them. They democratized access to beauty products, once the privilege of elites, but they also defined the gender and ethnic borders of beauty, and its association with a handful of cities, notably Paris and later New York. The result was a homogenization of beauty ideals throughout the world.
    Today globalization is changing the beauty industry again; its impact can be seen in a range of competing strategies. Global brands have swept into China, Russia, and India, but at the same time, these brands are having to respond to a far greater diversity of cultures and lifestyles as new markets are opened up worldwide.
 Interested readers can find a video of Professor Jones discussing the book, as well as an interview on the HBS site "Working Knowledge" and a post on the Oxford University Press blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Advance Access Version of June 2010 Enterprise & Society Is Available

The contents of the June 2010 Enterprise & Society are now posted on the Oxford University Press website and can be accessed by BHC members and other subscribers.  Articles include:
David M. Higgins and Dev Gangjee
    “ ‘Trick or Treat?’ The Misrepresentation of American Beef Exports in Britain during the Late Nineteenth Century”

Javier Fernández Roca
    “Monks and Businessmen in Catalonia: The Benedictines of Montserrat, 1900–1936”

Thomas B. Heinrich
    “Jack of All Trades: Cramp Shipbuilding, Mixed Production, and the Limits of Flexible Specialization in American Warship Construction, 1940–1945”

Pál Germuska
    “Military Industry versus Military-Related Firms in Socialist Hungary: Disintegration and Integration of Military Production during the 1950s and Early 1960s

Marcelo Bucheli
    “Multinational Corporations, Business Groups, and Economic Nationalism: Standard Oil (New Jersey), Royal Dutch-Shell, and Energy Politics in Chile, 1913–2005”

Saturday, May 15, 2010

IEHA First Call for Session Proposals

A reminder that the deadline for the International Economic History Association's first call for session proposals for the XVIth World Economic History Conference is 1 September 2010.  The 2012 World Congress will be held at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, 9-13 July 2012. The theme is "Exploring the Roots of Development"; the IEHA is therefore looking for "sessions on the period before 1800 and sessions that include countries other than those of Western Europe and North America.," though all topics in economic history, history of economics, demographic, social, urban, and cultural history, as well as in gender studies and methodology will be considered.  The IEHA has a two-tier proposal system, with a second round of proposals opening in October. For complete directions and conference information, please see the full call for papers on the IEHA website.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Neglected Field of Economic History?

The April 2010 issue of Historically Speaking has a forum on the state of the field of economic history.  The lead essay, "Is Economic History a Neglected Field of Study?" by Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University, is followed by responses from Philip T. Hoffman, Deirdre N. McCloskey, Joel Mokyr, and Werner Troesken, with a reply from Whaples. The entire forum is available through Project Muse or via subscription, but the Historical Society blog has a brief introduction from each essay.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

BHC Members' Books in the News

The April 12, 2010, issue of The Chronicle Review discusses Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism and the Beauty Industry, by Tiffany Gill of the University of Texas, Austin. As the reviewers comment:
Again and again in Beauty Shop Politics, the reader is reminded that the hairdressing profession gave women the security to pursue political activity. . . . Gill takes her subject matter from antebellum to contemporary times and considers it through multiple lenses. The scope of the material and interdisciplinary scholarship evident throughout the book makes Beauty Shop Politics a comprehensive addition to the bookshelves of women's studies, African-American studies, and entrepreneurial studies, as well as to history, business, and political-science departments. It is a truly interdisciplinary endeavor.
The full article is available only through personal or library subscription.

Update: An interview with Professor Gill discussing her research at an early stage in 2004 is available on the University of Texas, Austin, website.

Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, by Nouriel Roubini and BHC member Stephen Mihm of the University of Georgia, is reviewed in the "Books of the Times" section of the May 7 New York Times. An excerpt from the book is provided.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Common-Place on Hard Times

The latest number of the on-line journal Common-Place is a special issue on "Hard Times." As Cathy Matson writes in her essay on "Flimsy Fortunes":
Americans' fascination with making their dollars grow through paper speculating, and their fortunes and failures resulting from it, has been a subject of scholarly interest for a long time. Historians have chronicled credit and investment schemes beginning in the late-colonial years and continuing in every era of American history. In the two hundred years between the Revolution and the 1980s, over a dozen episodes of overextended credit or speculative frenzies grew into full-fledged financial panics, some followed by years of depression.
The richly illustrated issue includes:
Michael Zakim
The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Thomas Augst
A Drunkard's Story

Edward E. Baptist
Toxic Debt, Liar Loans, and Securitized Human Beings

Oz Frankel
Hard Facts for Hard Times

Pierre Gervais
A Game of Claims and Expectations

Roy Kreitner
When Banks Fail

Jessica Lepler
Pictures of Panic

Noam Maggor
Hard Times
[An essay on "Bubbles, Panics, & Crashes: A Century of Financial Crises," Baker Library Historical Collections, HBS]

Cathy Matson
Flimsy Fortunes

Sharon Ann Murphy
"Doomed … to eat the bread of dependency"?

Jonathan Prude
Images of Want

Monday, May 3, 2010

New and Forthcoming Books of Interest

A brief listing of new and forthcoming books of interest to business and economic historians:

Tracey Deutsch, Building a Housewife's Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press, May 2010; ISBN 9780807833278);
 Richard R. John, Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (Harvard University Press, May 2010; ISBN 9780674024298);
James R. Fichter, So Great a Profitt: How the East Indies Trade Transformed American Capitalism (Harvard University Press, May 2010; ISBN 9780674050570);
Mara L. Keire, For Business and Pleasure: Red-Light Districts and the Regulation of Vice in the United States, 1890–1933 (Johns Hopkins University Press, Spring 2010; ISBN 9780801894138);
Ann Carlos and Frank D. Lewis, Commerce by a Frozen Sea: Native Americans and the European Fur Trade (University of Pennsylvania Press,  May 2010; ISBN 9780812242317).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

CFP: Internationalization Pathways for Family Firms

A call for papers has been issued for a workshop to be held at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., on February 18-19, 2011: "Going Global: Internationalization Pathways for Family Firms during the 19th and 20th Century." The conveners are Christina Lubinski (Harvard Business School, GHI), Paloma Fernández Pérez (Universitat de Barcelona), and Jeff Fear (University of Redlands). The conference will focus on family businesses as international actors, gathering an international group of scholars to discuss the various strategies and pathways for internationalization that family businesses pursued during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Paper proposals (two pages maximum) are welcome for all sessions from both young and established scholars from different countries and disciplines, including business history, economic history, economics, sociology and psychology. Each session is devoted to international comparative studies that will identify and evaluate internationalization pathways in different family businesses and countries. Proposals should include an abstract of the paper and a curriculum vitae in English and should be submitted by July 1, 2010. For a complete discussion of possible topics and submission information, please see the call for papers on the GHI site.