Friday, July 30, 2010

Wilfried Feldenkirchen (1947-2010)

With sadness we report the death of longtime BHC member Wilfried Feldenkirchen.  He died in  a car accident on June 21, 2010, while test driving a replica of Siemens' 1905 electric car, the Victoria, a project for which he was the manager.  He was professor of economic, social, and business history in the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.  A former trustee of the BHC and a member of the editorial board of Enterprise & Society, Professor Dr. Feldenkirchen specialized in nineteenth- and twentieth-century corporate and financial history, focusing particularly on Siemens.
In addition to numerous articles and essays, his works include:
The Banks and the Steel Industry in the Ruhr: Developments in Relations from 1874 to 1914 (1981)
Werner von Siemens: Inventor and International Entrepreneur (1994)
Siemens, 1918-1945 (1999)
Siemens: From Workshop to Global Player (2000)
"Vom Guten das Beste": Von Daimler und Benz zur DaimlerChrysler AG (2003)
Die Siemens-Unternehmer (2005)
His article, "Big Business in Interwar Germany: Organizational Innovation at Vereinigte Stahlwerke, IG Farben, and Siemens," in the Autumn 1987 Business History Review won the Newcomen Prize for the best essay in the BHR that year.
A fuller CV may be found here, and obituaries here and here.  A video of Professor Feldenkirchen inspecting and discussing the Victoria (in German; audio begins c. 2 min. in) is available on YouTube.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Program Available for the Hagley's "Crisis and Consequence" Conference

Richard Sylla
The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library has posted the preliminary program for its fall conference, "Crisis and Consequence," which will take place at the Hagley on November 4-5, 2010. The conference will open on the evening of November 4 with a keynote address by Richard Sylla of the Stern School of Business at New York University, followed by a full day of panels on November 5. There is no fee to attend, but registration is required.  To register or to obtain more information, please contact Carol Lockman, clockman@hagley.org or (302) 658-2400.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Business Historians Rate "Most Hated" Companies for The Daily Beast

Contemplating the public outrage against BP in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, online magazine The Daily Beast recently asked a group of commentators, including several business historians, to nominate and rank reviled companies of the past.  Those asked to suggest candidates included Marcelo Bucheli (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Geoffrey Jones and Thomas McCraw (Harvard Business School), and Joe Martin (University of Toronto). The top 13 results (with some commentary) can be found here; a hint about which company ranked no. 1:

"Next!" Political cartoon from Puck, Sept. 7, 1904 (Library of Congress)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

AFHé Program Is Now Available

The program for the upcoming AFHé conference is now available on the Web:
"Les chantiers de l'histoire économique"—the 14th Congress of the Association française d'histoire économique, to be held October 20-22, 2010, in Lyon. Participants include Maxine Berg, Albert Carreras, Youssef Cassis, and Patrick Fridenson.

Tip of the hat to the AMHE blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Business History Review To Be Published by Cambridge University Press

The Harvard Business School and Cambridge University Press announced last week that, beginning in 2011, the Business History Review will be published by the scholarly journals division of CUP, Cambridge Journals Online. The BHR's page on the Cambridge website can be found here. According to the press release, the move to Cambridge will give "the journal full online functionality and many new features to enhance and optimize article usage. BHR will benefit from the availability of an online subscription for the first time and [from having] the complete archive in one place."
The BHR is currently archived on JSTOR (most recent 5 years excluded); selected articles and reviews are available on the BHR site at HBS and through SSRN.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

75 Yrs. of American Finance from the St. Louis Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, through its FRASER (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research) project, aims "to provide timely and convenient data to scholars, analysts, students and interested observers of the U.S. economy."  Unique among the documents digitized is 75 Yrs. of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation, 1861-1935, created by L. Merle Hostetler of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 1936, and later expanded to include the years 1936-1938.  "The entire book consists of a chart, approximately 85 feet long, fanfolded into 40 pages with additional years attached to the last page. It also includes a 'topical index' to the chart and some questions of technical interest" that can be answered by consulting the chart.  Concurrent economic and political events are detailed for each year. Some sample pages:

Hostetler, p. 9, 1864

Hostetler, p. 17, 1872

Hostetler, p. 79, 1933

Many of the events listed are of course well known, such as the introduction of the Bessemer process in the United States (1864), the Credit Mobilier scandal in 1872, and the creation of the TVA in 1933.  But the lists of information less commonly known, particularly juxtaposed in the time line format, provide a unique visual aid: for example, the fact that glass mason jars were supplanting crocks  for fruit preserves (1864); the existence of an "epizootic epidemic" among horses that impeded trade (1872); the beginning of  construction of the San Francisco Bay bridge (1933).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New and Forthcoming Books of Interest: Summer Edition

A sampling among this summer's crop of new books of interest to business and economic historians:
Stefano Battilossi and Jaime Reis, eds., State and Financial Systems in Europe and the USA: Historical Perspectives on Regulation and Supervision in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Ashgate, April 2010; ISBN: 978-0-7546-6594-6);

Forrest Capie, The Bank of England, 1950s to 1979 (Cambridge University Press, August 2010; ISBN 978-0-521-19282-8);

José L. García-Ruiz and Pier Angelo Toninelli, eds., The Determinants of Entrepreneurship: Leadership, Culture, Institutions (Pickering and Chatto, July 2010; ISBN: 978-1-84893-071-1);

Richard S. Grossman, Unsettled Account: The Evolution of Banking in the Industrialized World since 1800 (Princeton University Press, June 2010; ISBN 978-1-4008-3525-6);
 
Robin Pearson, ed., The Development of International Insurance (Pickering and Chatto, July 2010; ISBN: 978-1-84893-075-9);

Catherine R. Schenk, The Decline of Sterling: Managing the Retreat of an International Currency, 1945-1992 (Cambridge University Press, July 2010; ISBN: 978-0-521-87697-1);

Nuala Zahedieh, The Capital and the Colonies: London and the Atlantic Economy, 1660-1700 (Cambridge University Press, August 2010; ISBN: 978-0-521-51423-1).

Monday, July 12, 2010

New "Common-Place" Author Roundtable of Interest

The newest issue of Common-Place (July 2010) contains an "Ask the Author" roundtable featuring business and economic historians. The articles are:
Brian P. Luskey, author of On the Make: Clerks and the Quest for Capital in Nineteenth-Century America (NYU Press, 2010), on "Dishonest Clerks and the Future of Capitalism";
Seth Rockman, author of Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), on "Poverty, Past and Present";
Wendy A. Woloson, author of  In Hock: Pawning in America from Independence through the Great Depression (University of Chicago Press, 2009), on "On Borrowed Time: Pawning Past and Present"

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Call for Papers: APEBH Conference 2011

The Asia-Pacific Economic and Business History Conference will take place 18-20 February 2011 in Berkeley, California. The conference is jointly sponsored by the All-University of California Group in Economic History and the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand.  The theme of the 2011 meeting is "The Great Divergence: Perspectives from the Pacific Rim," but
the organisers are open to  proposals for contributions on other topics in economic, social, and business history, as well as to proposals for sessions on particular themes. Researchers across a broad range of disciplines are warmly welcomed.  Early career researchers are encouraged to participate. The conference organisers are particularly interested in attracting papers that examine developments in countries and regions along the Pacific  Rim and papers that provide an international comparative perspective.
The closing date for submissions is 30 November 2010. Please check the complete call for papers for additional information.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bethany Moreton Makes HNN's Top Young Historians List

Bethany Moreton of the University of Georgia has been named to the new "Top Young Historians" list compiled by the History News Network.  Her book To Serve God and Wal-Mart was awarded the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize this year by the OAH (see our earlier report, here). Professor Moreton will be a visiting assistant professor of women's studies and the history of Christianity at Harvard Divinity School for the academic year 2010-11.
Other business historians on the earlier HNN list, which spans the last five years, include Shane Hamilton, Scott Sandage, and Robert MacDougall.

Monday, July 5, 2010

2010 Schumpeter Prize Awarded to William Lazonick

William Lazonick, professor in the Department of Regional Economic and Social Development and director of the Center for Industrial Competitiveness at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (and past president of the Business History Conference), has been named a co-winner of this year's Schumpeter Prize, awarded by the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society. Professor Lazonick was honored for his recent book, Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States (Upjohn Institute, 2009).  The prize is awarded every two years to recognize a recent scholarly contribution related to the work of Joseph Schumpeter; this year the theme of the prize competition was “Innovation, Organization, Sustainability and Crises.” According to the Society's press release,
Lazonick’s book analyzes the transformation of the mode of business organization that characterizes US high-tech industry. He shows how a business model that was an engine of innovation in the 1980s and 1990s has resulted in an inequitable income distribution and unstable employment. Lazonick argues that, with increasing inequity and recurring instability in the 2000s, the engine of innovation has stalled. At the root of the problem is the corporate focus on stock-price performance, manifested in large-scale stock buybacks and the explosion of executive pay. This book is essential for understanding how the “financialization” of US industrial corporations has weakened the US economy and contributed to the current crisis.
A press release from UMass Lowell is available here.  An introductory chapter of the book is available on the Upjohn Institute Website.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

SHOT Conference Program Now Available

The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) has now posted the preliminary program for its upcoming annual meeting. A program overview and schedule of sessions are available, as well as the full program.  The meeting will take place in Tacoma, Washington, from September 30 to October 3, 2010.  For addition information, including registration and lodging information, and much more about Tacoma, please see the SHOT meeting page.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Joyce Appleby on the History of Capitalism

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism, by UCLA professor emerita Joyce Appleby, has been receiving quite a bit of general media attention.  Readers wishing to learn more about the book can choose among a plethora of reviews and author interviews. A sampling:
The book was reviewed by Stephen Mihm in the New York Times Book Review;
 by James K. Galbraith for the Chicago Tribune; by Alan Ryan for the Literary Review; and by Paul Hohenberg for EH.Net Reviews. Professor Appleby can be seen discussing the book in interviews on C-Span and on YouTube here and here; there is a print interview on the UCLA Website. An excerpt from the Mihm review:
[Appleby] captures how a new generation of now forgotten economic writers active long before Adam Smith built a case “that the elements in any economy were negotiable and fluid, the exact opposite of the stasis so long desired.” This was a revolution of the mind, not machines, and it ushered in profound changes in how people viewed everything from usury to joint stock companies. As she bluntly concludes, “there can be no capitalism . . . without a culture of capitalism.”
A book excerpt can be found here.