Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Digital Resource: Japanese Yearbook on Business History

For many years, the Business History Society of Japan published the Japanese Yearbook on Business History, an English-language scholarly journal. In 2004, the Society renamed its journal Japanese Research in Business History, in order to reflect a more wide-ranging focus. Volumes 1-20 (1984-2003) of the original journal and volumes 21-24 (2004-2007) of its new incarnation have now been digitized, and the contents are available on-line without restriction. (Users should note that the year designation of volumes 1-20 is off by one year, so that the dates are given as 1985-2004; however, the volume numbers are correct and agree with the complete contents listing available from the BHSJ website.)
   Researchers might also be interested in other contents of the site, which is hosted by the Journal@rchive. Operated by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the site aims to make available Japanese research on all subjects. It currently contains over 200 journals, many of them in English; journals are searchable by author, title, and keyword, as well as full-text.

Monday, June 27, 2011

European Historical Economics Society Program Now Available

Guinness Storehouse interior
The European Historical Economics Society (EHES) is holding its annual conference on September 2-3, 2011, in Dublin at the Guinness Storehouse. The detailed program is now available, as well as information about registration, lodging, and other details. Robert Allen will offer a keynote address on "Why Are Some Countries Rich and Others Poor?" Other highlights include two sessions (in groups 4 and 5) on business history and a roundtable on the Industrial Revolution featuring Robert Allen, Nicholas Crafts, Deirdre McCloskey, and Joel Mokyr. Papers will be posted to the website as they are received.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"FRESH" CFP and Schedule of Upcoming Meetings

The next meeting of FRESH (Frontier Research in Economic and Social History) will be held in Antwerp, Belgium, on October 28, 2011. The keynote speaker will be Jan Luiten van Zanden of Utrecht University, who will talk about “The North Sea Area and the Origins of ‘Modern Economic Growth,’ 1200‐1800.”
   FRESH meetings are aimed at researchers in any field of economic and social history. The meetings are based on the belief that it is helpful for scholars to present their ongoing research at an early stage—normally before it is published as a working paper and certainly before publication in books or journals. The main aim of the meetings is to gather researchers in a friendly and collegial environment where they can present their research and receive constructive criticism from their peers.
   Prospective speakers should submit a one‐page abstract and a short CV to Jord Hanus (email: no later than July 31, 2011. Notification of acceptance will be given by mid-August 2011. Please see the full call for papers for further information.
   Additional meetings for Münster in March  2012 and Pisa in April 2012 are in the planning stage. For more information about FRESH meetings and membership, please visit the FRESH website.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Full EBHA 2011 Program Now Available

The program for the 2011 meeting of the European Business History Association (EBHA), which will be held in Athens, Greece, on August 24-26, has now been posted. The theme for the meeting is "Business Finance and the State in the 20th Century: European Comparisons in Historical Perspectives, Crisis and Transformation." Also available on the meeting website are details about accommodations, travel, and registration.
   For those wishing to plan ahead, the EBHA has announced that the 2012 meeting will be held in Paris, France, August 30-September 1. The theme will be "Business Enterprises and the Tension between Local and Global." A full call for papers will be posted when it becomes available.
   And even further ahead, plans are in the works for a joint EBHA-BHC meeting in Miami, Florida, scheduled for June 24-27, 2015.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Digital Resources: Political/Editorial Cartoons

Political cartoons have many uses, particularly in teaching. They provide a quick visual statement, and they also invite discussion, not only of the immediate topic, but of many aspects of the period in which they were drawn. Several collections are on-line, some of which may be searched via relevant keywords such as "business," "railroads," etc. A few websites of interest:
Political Cartoons from the Library of Congress
(The LOC blog also has an essay on teaching with political cartoons: "Seriously Funny," with an excellent link to the term "political cartoon" searched in the Prints and Photographs Division)
American Political Prints, 1766-1876 (HarpWeek at the Library of Congress) (HarpWeek also lists other freely available topics on its website)
Railroad Cartoons (Mark Aldrich, Smith College, with commentary)
Treasury of Fine Art, Political/Editorial Cartoons (Ohio State)
Thomas Nast (Ohio State)
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, Ohio State (Digital Albums and Digital Exhibits); they also have a searchable cartoon database.
19th and 20th Century Labor Prints (Southern Labor Archives, Georgia State)
Comic Art at Princeton University (includes images by Hogarth, Gillray, and Cruikshank)
Gillray Collection (Princeton University)
Editorial Cartoons of J. N. "Ding" Darling (Drake University)
Political Cartoons from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery
Modern (1952- ) Canadian Political Cartoons (Simon Fraser University)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Richard White's Railroaded Attracts Media Attention

We mentioned here earlier Richard White's op-ed piece on high-speed rail, in which he drew on his new work on the transcontinental railroad. The recently published book, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (W. W. Norton, May 2011), has been attracting general media attention. White and the book were featured on the June 13 broadcast of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR, and it has been reviewed for Slate by Donald Worster and by John Steele Gordon for the Wall Street Journal. White himself has now offered his assessment on the Page 99 Test website. Excerpts from the book are available on the Norton site.
    Business historians will be cheered by White's remarks in one of his notes:
Most American historians have relegated the study of corporations to the subfield of business history. Business historians have thrived on the neglect of their colleagues and created an impressive body of literature that should be better integrated into the larger narratives of American and Canadian history (p. 538n8).
BHC members will remember that White participated (with Lizabeth Cohen of Harvard University) in the Presidential Plenary Session at the 2008 annual meeting,  entitled "Putting Business Back in History."
   Update, July 18: The book was reviewed by Michael Kazin in the July 17 New York Times Book Review. Video interviews are also now available: one with David Kennedy on C-Span's Book TV and one with Thom Hartmann on YouTube. An audio interview from NPR's "Morning Edition" has now been posted as well.
   Update, September 4: Robin Einhorn reviews the book for The Nation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Call for Papers: APEBH 2012 Conference

The next Asia and Pacific Economic and Business History (APEBH) Conference, sponsored by the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand (EHSANZ), will be held February 16-18, 2012, in Canberra at the Australian National University (ANU).  The theme is "Economic Integration: Historical Perspectives from Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region," though proposals on other topics will be considered. "Researchers across a broad range of disciplines are warmly welcomed. Early career researchers are encouraged to participate. The conference organizers are particularly interested in attracting papers that examine developments in countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region and papers that provide an international comparative perspective." The call for papers further states:
. . . throughout history, processes of economic integration of factor and product markets occurred through both informal and formal processes. They occurred across regions within countries as transport facilities improved. They occurred across the borders of neighbouring countries as bilateral trade barriers were reduced, and in regions of the world due to multilateral initiatives. Formal agreements were not necessarily a prerequisite for economic integration. Private enterprises often took international business initiatives, despite the continued existence of barriers to international trade and investment. . . . What lessons can be drawn from comparative historical perspectives on processes of economic integration? How were such processes taken from one level to the next, how were issues of differential regulation dealt with, how did private
enterprises seize new business opportunities and influence the process of integration, and what consequences did cross-border integration have for markets and societies? Lastly, integration has rarely been a linear process, but one of leaps and bounds. What can we learn from cases when integration processes rebounded?
For the full call for papers, instructions for submitting proposals, and information about ANU, please see the APEBH website. The deadline for submitting proposals is November 30, 2011.

Monday, June 13, 2011

CHORD "Food and Beverages" Conference Website Available

Kitchen Still Life, c. 1650
The Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution (CHORD) at the University of Wolverhampton is holding a conference on "Food and Beverages: Retailing, Distribution, and Consumption in Historical Perspective," on September 7-8, 2011, at the Telford Campus. The conference website is now available, with program, abstracts of the papers, and information on registration, lodging, and area activities. Session topics include:
The provision of food in the early-modern period
Distribution networks
Drinking dens? New perspectives on clubs and public houses, c. 1600-2000
Introducing novelty and innovation
Trade cultures
Individualism and the state
Family businesses
Food technologies
Gendering the retail and consumption of alcohol in comparative perspective
Symbolic meanings and consumer preferences
Foreign cuisine
For additional information, please contact Laura Ugolini at

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Digital Resource from Hagley: Industry along the Brandywine

The Hagley Museum and Library recently launched "Delaware’s Industrial Brandywine," an online project
produced by the library with support from the Delaware Industrial History Initiative, the Delaware Humanities Forum, and the National Endowment of the Humanities. The goal of the project is to fully document businesses that benefited from the unique geography of the Brandywine River along its eight-mile stretch in Delaware. Currently, the database holds over one hundred records of individual businesses that operated on the Brandywine from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.
The site can be searched or browsed by people, industry type, or date range. The majority of the sources for the project have also been digitized and can be accessed from the project site. There is also an interactive map that allows visitors to learn about industries in specific locations.
   The project is ongoing and additional information will be incorporated as it is uncovered. The Hagley curators welcome assistance from the public in adding data; comment sections are included throughout the pages.
    Another of the Hagley's digital projects is of related interest: see also "The Du Pont Company along the Brandywine."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Uses of Inventories: “Human Well-Being and the Industrious Revolution”

Sheilagh Ogilvie of the Department of Economics at the University of Cambridge is the principal investigator on an ERSC-funded project, "Human Well-Being and the Industrious Revolution: Consumption, Gender, and Social Capital in a German Developing Economy, 1600-1900." The project investigates consumption and well-being over three centuries through a microeconomic analysis of two communities—the town of Wildberg in the Württemberg Black Forest and the village of Auingen in the Swabian Jura. The heart of the project is a close examination of estate inventories from the regions. In the words of the project description:
How do consumption, production and reproduction interact to improve human well-being? The project addresses this question by exploring the theory of the ‘Industrious Revolution’ – the idea that after about 1650 Europeans shifted time out of leisure and household production into market work and consumption, thereby preparing the way for modern economic growth. The theory is supposed to apply to all of Europe, but is based almost exclusively on English and Dutch evidence before c. 1750. We aim to add substance to the Industrious Revolution by focussing on a Central European economy (the southwest German territory of Württemberg) where extraordinarily rich personal inventories survive from c. 1600 to c. 1900. By linking inventories with family reconstitutions and other local sources, we aim to create a database permitting a multivariate analysis of increases in market consumption and production, as a function of factors such as gender, marital status, fertility, age, occupation, local office-holding, literacy, landownership, credit relationships, kinship circles, community citizenship, guild membership, and other measures of ‘social capital’. The project thus aims to explore the determinants of changes in human well-being over three centuries by bringing to bear new evidence, new methods, and new conceptual tools.
The project, and the importance of the inventories, has been receiving significant media attention in recent weeks: see this article in the June 6 Boston Globe and a BBC interview with Ogilvie (beginning at minute 33); the University Cambridge also covered the project in a recent in-house publication about faculty research.

   The phrase "industrious revolution" is probably most closely associated with Jan de Vries of the University of California, Berkeley, author of The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2008) (see here for an EH.Net Review by Hans-Joachim Voth).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

EHA 2011 Meeting Program and Information Available

The annual meeting of the Economic History Association (EHA) will be held this year in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 9-11; the theme of the meeting is "Crises and Turning Points." The full meeting brochure , containing information about travel, accommodations, and the preliminary program, has now been posted. An on-line registration form will be available later this week; the pre-registration deadline is August 15, 2011. All inquiries about the EHA 2011 meeting should be directed to the Meetings Coordinator, Jari Eloranta, by email ( or phone (828-262-6006).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Labatt Brewing Donates Archives to the University of Western Ontario

Good news for business historians, as Ontario-based Labatt Breweries announced that it had given a major portion of its corporate archives to the University of Western Ontario, where the collection will be organized and maintained by the university's Archives and Research Collection Centre. Even more promising, the company also donated $200,000 to the university toward digitizing the collection. In the words of the press release:
Until four years ago, the material Labatt had gathered since its founding – along with other materials acquired as a result of acquisitions of smaller Canadian breweries over the years – resided in thousands upon thousands of boxes, drawers and filing cabinets across the country. Amongst some of the collection, the artifacts include John Labatt’s personal letter book (1883-1906) containing company correspondence; a brewery book (1884-1895) providing details of daily production and year-end summaries; a stereoscopic slide viewer (1950s) used to train staff to identify aluminum can defects; draft minutes of the first Board of Directors meeting (1911); and the certificate of registration of the ‘Blue’ trademark. . . . The company, along with professional archivists, gathered, catalogued, itemized and organized virtually all its irreplaceable corporate documents.
Some of the materials, including images and TV and radio commercials, are available on the Labatt site. UWO has also placed some images on Flickr.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Smith.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Business and Economic History at the 2011 Berkshire Conference

The 2011 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women will meet June 9-12, 2011, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This year's theme is “Generations: Exploring Race, Sexuality, and Labor across Time and Space.” The full program, which is now available on the conference web site, contains a number of sessions of interest to BHC members. Of most direct interest is Session 176, “Managing Women: The Challenges of Iintertwining Gender and Business History”; the full panel contains:
Facilitator: Angel Kwolek-Folland, University of Florida
Susan Yohn, Hofstra University
   Diversity as a Business Strategy (or How Liberal Feminism Saved American Capitalism in the Late 20th Century)
Nancy Marie Robertson, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
   The Invisible Hand and the Velvet Glove: Women’s Departments in American Banks
Amy Froide, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
   The Business of Investing: The Public Stock Portfolios of Female Investors in 18th-Century Britain
Tanya Roth, Washington University in St. Louis
   (Un)Equal Opportunity? The Paradox of Equal Opportunity in the Cold War Military
Pamela Walker Laird, University of Colorado Denver
   The Limitations of Equal Opportunity Laws
Elizabeth Brake, Duke University
   Re-Imagining the Family Farm: New Roles and Old Limitations for Women in Industrial Agriculture
Sara Alpern, Texas A&M University, College Station
   A Businesswoman against Businesswoman: The Paradox of Alice Foote MacDougall
Nikki Mandell, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
    Can Women Be Businessmen?
Sara Damiano, Johns Hopkins University
   “To Well and Truly Administer”: Female Administrators and Estate Settlement in Newport, RI, 1730-1776
A partial list of other sessions and papers of interest includes (session numbers in parentheses):
(1) Donica Belisle: "Professionalizing Consumption: The National Council of Women of Canada and the Formation of Modern Consumer Identities, 1893-1939"
(14) "Gender in Corporate Places," with comment by Pamela Walker Laird
(15) Roundtable: "Where Is Women's Work in Studies of Early Modern Culture, Consumption and Credit?"
(35) "Economies of Beauty: Race, Gender, and Marketplaces," chaired by Susannah Walker
(39) "Rethinking Capitalism, Work, and Gender: A Feminist Economics Roundtable," chaired by Tracey Deutsch
(58) "Women in the U.S. Corporation, 1970-1995," chaired by Vicki Howard, with Jennifer Scanlon as commentator
(59) "Consumers, Control, and Women's Economic Activity"
(128) "Cultural Currency: Women, Gender, and the Multiple Meanings of the Marketplace in the U.S., 1870-1925"
(151) Tiffany Gill: " 'Do You Have Time to Wash My Hair and Style It?' African American Beauticians and the Black Freedom Struggle"
(153) "Motherhood, Madonna and the Marketplace: Laywomen and Business Ladies across the Americas, 1750-1900," with comment by Susan Ingalls Lewis
For full information about registration, lodging, and other program events, please see the Berkshire Conference web site.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 2011 Issue of Enterprise & Society Now Available

The on-line version of the June 2011 issue of Enterprise & Society is now available at the Oxford University Press journals site. Essays include:
Giovanni Favero, “Business Attitudes Toward Statistical Investigation in Late Nineteenth Century Italy: A Wool Industrialist from Reticence to Influence”
Bianca Murillo, “ ‘The Devil We Know’: Gold Coast Consumers, Local Employees, and the United Africa Company, 1940–1960”
Pierre-Yves Donzé, “The Hybrid Production System and the Birth of the Japanese Specialized Industry: Watch Production at Hattori & Co. (1900–1960)”
Neil Rollings, “Multinational Enterprise and Government Controls on Outward Foreign Direct Investment in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1960s”
Full access requires a subscription (included in BHC membership), but extracts or abstracts of all the essays and reviews are freely available on the contents page.