Sunday, February 27, 2011

On-Line Sources for Book Reviews of Interest

Business and economic historians can find materials of interest on the several websites devoted to book reviews in history. These include:
H-Net Reviews: the academic mega-site for reviews in all humanities fields; recent reviews of interest here include
Rick Popp on Daniel Clark, Creating the College Man: American Mass Magazines and Middle-Class Manhood
Michael Mann on a collection of East India Company books, including Anthony Webster's The Twilight of the East India Company
Alida Borne on John Bockstoce, Furs and Frontiers in the Far North
EH.Net Reviews: economic history reviews, edited by Robert Whaples and associates. Recent reviews include
Andrew Godley on Garcia-Ruiz and Toninelli, The Determinants of Entrepreneurship
William McClenahan on Berk, Louis D. Brandeis and the Making of Regulated Competition
Lisa D. Cook on Ross Thomson, Structures of Change in the Mechanical Age
Reviews in History is sponsored by the University of London's Institute for Historical Research; its review pages also publish authors' responses and offer links to other similar books reviewed as well as to other reviews of the same book. Recent reviews of interest include:
Patrick O'Brien, review essay on Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: Ten Years of Debate
William Gallois on Joyce Appleby, The Relentless Revolution
Ian Donnachie on Anthony Cooke, The Rise and Fall of the Scottish Cotton Industry
All of these sites offer the possibility of subscribing to an email list to receive reviews directly.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hagley Digitizes Du Pont Magazine

The Hagley Library has now digitized all issues of the Du Pont Magazine, 1913-2003. Issues can be browsed individually, and can also be searched collectively. The issues include articles, product information, and advertisements on topics such as dynamite, quarrying, ammunition, popular plastic products, automobile accessories, and useful items for the home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Position Opening: University of Redlands

The Department of Business Administration and Accounting at the University of Redlands in California has a tenure-track position, at open rank, of interest to business and economic historians. From the job announcement:
The candidate should hold a PhD or relevant terminal degree and be able to demonstrate excellence in teaching undergraduates, particularly sophomores and first-year students. The position will play a major role in introducing students to Capitalism generally and the history of the period 1870-1932 in the United States, while developing students’ skills in oral presentation, writing, and critical analysis. Candidates will be asked to demonstrate a firm grounding in historic concepts and facts, pertaining to one or more of the following fields: finance, management, industrial expansion, labor relations, trade, government regulation, and theories of capitalism. Candidates must be able to contrast past practices with current developments. 
Applicants should send a letter addressing their professional accomplishments, philosophy of teaching, current CV, evidence of student evaluations, a sample of professional writing or speaking, and three letters of reference to:
   Jack Osborn
   Hunsaker Chair of Management
   Department of Business
   University of Redlands
   PO Box 3080
   Redlands CA 92373-0999
   or via e-mail to
The full job announcement can be found on the Redlands website. Review of applications will begin on March 7, 2011.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Accounting and Management History Conference Program Available

The Sixteenth Conference on Accounting and Management History will be held in Nantes on March 23-25, 2011. The preliminary program of the conference, which has the theme of "Perception, Representations, and Measures of Profit," has now been posted.  The original call for papers explains the goals of the conference: participants will consider how Old Regime merchants, bankers, industrialists, or financiers understood profit, how these perceptions were formed, what information was important, what instruments for observing, measuring, and predicting were used to support decisions. The sponsors include the Laboratoire d'économie et de management de Nantes (LEMNA), in association with the researchers of the Project MARPROF (Comptes et profits marchands d'Europe et d'Amérique, 1750-1815) and the technical support of the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme Ange-Guépin, where the conference will take place.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

CFP: Southern Industrialization Project Annual Meeting

The Southern Industrialization Project (SIP), an interdisciplinary group of  scholars studying the history of the political economy, business, and industrialization of the American South, invites proposals for papers to be presented at its upcoming meeting, which will take place June 3-4, 2011, at the Gulf Park Campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
  The keynote speaker will be Professor Angela Lakwete, Auburn University, the prizewinning author of Inventing the Cotton Gin: Machine and Myth in Antebellum America (2003).
   The members of the program committee invite submissions from advanced  graduate students as well as established scholars. Proposals for individual papers should include a one-page abstract and CV; proposals for entire panels should include an abstract and a CV for each presenter.
   Proposals should be sent to the members of the program committee via email attachment:
Jonathan Daniel Wells, chair, Temple University:
Michele Gillespie, Wake Forest University:
Max Grivno, University of Southern Mississippi:
The committee will begin reviewing proposals on April 1, 2011.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Canadian Network for Economic History Conference Program Now Available

The Canadian Network for Economic History/Réseau Canadienne d'Histoire Économique is holding its next conference on June 2-4, 2011, at the University of Ottawa. The theme of this year's meeting is "Education, Migration, and Human Capital." The full program, as well as registration and logistical information, can be found on the Conference website.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Smith's blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

“Beyond Face Value”: Images of Slavery in Confederate Currency

Alabama, Central Bank, $2, October 1, 1861
The U.S. Civil War Center and the Special Collections Division of the Louisiana State University Libraries have created an interesting on-line exhibit entitled "Beyond Face Value: Depictions of Slavery in Confederate Currency." In addition to many samples of currency engraving from the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods, the site also provides an overview of the Civil War and its economic environment, as well as a bibliography of written and digital resources.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

“Capitalism in Action!” Conference Materials Now Posted

The third graduate student conference on the History of American Capitalism at Harvard University—"Capitalism in Action!"—will take place March 3-5, 2011 in Barker Center at Harvard University. The keynote speaker will be T. J. Jackson Lears of Rutgers University. The full program and registration and other logistical information are now available on the conference website. Session topics include "Labor Power," "Business without Borders," "Capital's Advocates," "Unnatural Abundance," and "Legends of Capital." The "Study of Capitalism" program at Harvard University, which sponsors the conference, is directed by Professors Sven Beckert and Christine Desan and coordinated by Caitlin Rosenthal; information about this year's conference graduate student organizers can be found here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Smithsonian Planning New “American Enterprise” Exhibit

The Smithsonian Institution is planning a new exhibit focusing on "American Enterprise" and has issued a call for public involvement; the curators are seeking "interesting ideas about new artifacts to collect, topics to pursue, [and] related personal experiences."  The target opening date is 2014. The announcement states,
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is planning a new long-term exhibition that will explore a key area of the American experience—the history of business and innovation. “American Enterprise” is the working title for the exhibition, which will trace the development of the United States from a largely dependent territory to the largest national economy in the world (1750s–2010s). The central goal of the exhibition is an understanding of the American business history story focusing on opportunity, competition and innovation in the American marketplace— the dynamic interplay of consumers and producers. The museum is working to raise private funds for the exhibition, which is scheduled to open in 2014.
  As part of the planning process, the museum’s curatorial team will be hosting an exploratory website to open the research and exhibition process to the public. Through regular blog posts readers will learn about research trips and the issues and artifacts that the team is considering. Over the next few years, the public will slowly see “American Enterprise” take shape with the hope that they will be engaged and comment.
The exploratory website is now available; the blog portion is also up and running.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

“Before and Beyond Europe” Yale Conference Information Posted

The organizers of the conference "Before and Beyond Europe: Economic Change in Historical Perspective," to be held at Yale University on February 25-26, 2011, and posted here in November, have now released registration and other logistical information. The program is available, with links to full texts of the papers, which attendees are encouraged to read in advance of the sessions. A poster with the full program is also available. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration by February 21 is requested.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Books of Interest at “The Page 99 Test”

The "Page 99 Test" blog takes its theme from a Ford Madox Ford quotation: "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you." An author is asked to look at page 99 of his or her book and comment on how the material reflects the book's overall subject.  Several business and economic historians have participated, including most recently Louis Hyman, commenting on Debtor Nation. Others of interest:
Carolyn de la Peña, Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from to Saccharin to Splenda
Mark Valeri, Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America 
Mark W. Geiger, Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865  
Richard S. Grossman, Unsettled Account: The Evolution of Banking in the Industrialized World since 1800
Richard Longstreth, The American Department Store Transformed, 1920-1960
James R. Fichter, So Great a Profitt: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo-American Capitalism 
Judith Stein, Pivotal Decade: How the United States Trades Factories for Finance in the Seventies
Joel Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850  
These samples are from 2010 and 2011; the site has listings beginning in 2007.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Slavery's Capitalism" Conference Program Now Available

The Brown-Harvard Conference on "Slavery's Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development," which will take place at the two universities on April 7-9, 2011, now has a full website. One can find the complete program, as well as information about registration, travel and lodging, and an undergraduate poster session. In the words of the organizers:
The decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War witnessed two economic transformations: the harnessing of machinery and capital into an industrial revolution and the vast expansion of slavery across a so-called Cotton Kingdom. These were not rival developments, but rather the twin engines of the nineteenth-century American economy. This three-day conference will showcase the latest research on the role of slavery in American economic development, pointing toward a new history of capitalism itself. 
The conference is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost at Brown and the Center for American Political Studies and the Seminar on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism at Harvard University.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Google Celebrates Edison's Birthday

As many web users know, Google occasionally posts specific designs on its main search page to honor holidays, famous birthdays, and other events—rarely particularly relevant to business historians. Today's Google design, however, honors the 164th birthday of Thomas A. Edison.  The full effect of the animated image can be seen on Google's main search page.
   Numerous digital resources are available to those wishing to learn more about Edison, his work, and his businesses.
The Edison Papers Project at Rutgers University has a great deal of material on-line, including a searchable database, as well as a list of links to other useful sites.
The Smithsonian Institution has an on-line exhibit, Edison after Forty; the Lemelson Center has Edison Invents!
The Library of Congress has a large exhibit, "Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies," which includes a number of early sound and motion picture recordings.
The library at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has a large collection of digitized cylinder recordings from the Edison companies.
The PBS series, "The American Experience," produced Edison's Miracle of Light, with an accompanying website with a transcript of the program and other resources.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Position Opening: Director of Library Services at the Hagley

Hagley Museum and Library, in Wilmington, Delaware, a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association, housing one of the foremost collections of manuscripts, photographs, books, and pamphlets documenting the history of American business and technology, is seeking an individual with outstanding leadership skills to head its Library Division. The Director, Library Services will assist the Executive Director in overseeing all library operations. This includes long-range planning, personnel management, budget preparation and management, conservation and preservation, grant solicitation and administration, collections management, publications, overseeing integrated library automation systems, and exhibit planning.
  Applicants must have an ALA accredited Master's degree in Library Science or a Master's degree in another relevant field. Ph.D. preferred. Minimum of ten years professional management experience in a library and/or archives or similar cultural institution; experience in a broad range of library/archival areas, including budget administration, integrated library information technology, personnel management and one or more academic or program areas (research, curatorial, exhibit, education, visitor services, etc.) Must have strong communication and interpersonal skills. Proven abilities in administration, fundraising, program development, grant-writing and administration, as well as working with volunteers and the public. Background knowledge in American history, history of technology, or history of business very desirable.
  Qualified persons should send a resume and cover letter to the Human Resources Department of Hagley Museum and Library no later than Friday, March 11, 2011. Complete information can be found on the Hagley's "Employment" page.

Monday, February 7, 2011

New and Forthcoming Books of Interest: Winter Edition

A sampling of recently published and forthcoming books on topics of interest:
Franco Amatori, Robert Millward, and Pier Angelo Toninelli, eds., Reappraising State-Owned Enterprise:  A Comparison of the UK and Italy (Routledge, forthcoming, March 2011).

Stuart Banner: American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own (Harvard University Press, February 2011).

Barry Eichengreen, Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System (Oxford University Press, December 2010).

Stefano Fenoaltea, The Reinterpretation of Italian Economic History, from Unification to the Great War (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, March 2011).

Susan M. Gauss, Made in Mexico: Regions, Nation, and the State in the Rise of Mexican Industrialism, 1920s-1940s (Penn State University Press, January 2011). 

Louis Hyman, Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Princeton University Press, January 2011).

Douglas A. Irwin, Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression (Princeton University Press, February 2011).

Douglas A. Irwin and Richard Sylla, eds., Founding Choices: American Economic Policy in the 1790s (University of Chicago Press, January 2011).

Roger Lloyd-Jones, Josephine Maltby, Myrddin John Lewis, and Mark David Matthews, Personal Capitalism and Corporate Governance: British Manufacturing in the First Half of the Twentieth Century (Ashgate, February 2011).

Paul W. Rhode, Joshua L. Rosenbloom, and David F. Weiman, eds., Economic Evolution and Revolution in Historical Time (Stanford University Press, February 2011).

John Singleton, Central Banking in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, December 2010).

Alessandro Stanziani, Rules of Exchange: French Capitalism in Comparative Perspective, Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Centuries (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, March 2011).

Jon Stobart and Ilja Van Damme, eds., Modernity and the Second-Hand Trade: European Consumption Cultures and Practices, 1700-1900 (Palgrave Macmillan, January 2011).

Ian M. Taplin, The Modern American Wine Industry: Market Formation and Growth in North Carolina (Pickering and Chatto, February 2011).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

APEBH 2011 Conference Program Is Now On-Line

The 2011 Conference of the Asia-Pacific Economic and Business History Association will take place February 18-20 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.” The preliminary program has recently been posted; the web version features links to the full texts of some papers. The Noel Butlin Lecture will be presented this year by Barry Eichengreen of the University of California, Berkeley; the title of his presentation is “The Quest for International Monetary Reform: Learning from History.” More details, including registration information, can be found on the Conference website.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

British Library Exhibit Highlights Evanion Ephemera Collection

The Evanion Collection at the British Library is a group of over 5,000 items including posters and handbills produced as publicity for various music hall and theater entertainments, as well as for exhibitions, circuses, and other popular events. Also represented are trade catalogues, price lists, and other advertising materials that reflect the times of Henry Evans ("Evanion"), a stage magician and ventriloquist of the Victorian era.
  The Library has now created an on-line exhibition of some 2,000 of these items.  One can browse the collection or use the search function to find specific images. In the words of Helen Peden, the curator of British Collections, 1801-1914, 
Evanion took advantage of this theatrical background to amass a large and fascinating collection of printed ephemera relating to entertainment and everyday life in Victorian England. . . . We've selected some 2,000 pieces to represent the diversity of trades, products and services that made up the Victorian business world. They range from trade cards to Christmas cards; from shop catalogues to restaurant menus; from the fashions of the day for ladies and gentlemen to the latest models in stoves, boilers and other equipment, domestic and industrial. Most date from the late 1860s to 1895, but the product names are often familiar: Pears Soap, Twinings Tea, Bovril and Vaseline.
  Particularly interesting are the detailed illustrations of newly patented techniques and inventions, . . . these diagrams are all the more fascinating because they show clearly how the inventions worked.
For more details, please read the curator's introduction.

Tip of the hat to Jonathan Rees, More or Less Bunk.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CFP: CHORD Conference on Food and Beverages

CHORD (the Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution) will hold a conference on September 7-8, 2011, at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. The topic will be "Food and Beverages: Retailing, Distribution, and Consumption in Historical Perspective. The call for papers states:
The Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution (CHORD) welcomes proposals to a conference devoted to the retailing, distribution and consumption of food and beverages, from the medieval period to the present. All methodological and disciplinary perspectives on the theme are welcome. Papers based on any geographical area are also welcome. Areas of interest range from (but are not limited to) hypermarkets to food parcels, from cafe society to drinking dens, from haute cuisine restaurants to market stalls. Proposals are welcome both for individual papers and for sessions (generally three papers in a session of 1 1/2 hours). Title (including title of session, if applicable) and an abstract of c.300 words should be sent to
The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2011. For further information, please contact Professor Ugolini.