Friday, September 30, 2011

BEH On-Line 2011 Edition Now Complete

The 2011 edition of BEH On-Line, a series devoted to edited essays from the Business History Conference annual meetings, is complete. Readers may freely access all of the 18 essays in this issue, as well as any of the 199 previous essays.  A cumulative author index is available. Each year's issue also includes the program and paper abstracts from that year's meeting.  BEH On-Line is the successor publication of the BHC's Business and Economic History, print collections of papers from the annual meetings.  The complete run of Business and Economic History, 1962-1999, can be accessed from the BHC website, and includes a cumulative index as well.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Preliminary AHA 2012 Program Now Available

The American Historical Association has released the preliminary version of the program for the 2012 annual meeting, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois, on January 5-8. As announced earlier, the Business History Conference is now an AHA-affiliated organization and as such can propose sessions for the meeting (though with no guarantee of acceptance). The BHC is sponsoring three sessions in Chicago, which can be found from the BHC sessions page. They include: session 95, "The Business of Media History: Technology, Journalism, Advertising," chaired by Pamela Walker Laird and featuring papers by Richard John, Anna McCarthy, Lynn Spigel, and James L. Baughman; session BHC2, "Writing History at The Wall Street Journal," chaired by Daniel Levinson-Wilk; and session 189, "Everyday Calculations: Varieties of Commercial Numeracy in Early America," chaired by Patricia Cline Cohen and including papers by Caitlin Rosenthal, Thomas Wickham, Molly McCarthy, and Jennifer Egloff.
   Other sessions of interest are the Economic History Association session and two German Historical Institute sessions, as well as several other papers. The EHA session, chaired by Daniel Raff, is "A Discussion of Before and Beyond Divergence: The Politics of Economic Change in China and Europe by Jean-Laurent Rosenthal and R. Bin Wong." The GHI sessions are "Communities of Consumers? Social-Democratic Spaces in the Age of Postwar Mass Consumption," chaired by Lizabeth Cohen; the second is session 220, "In Search of a New Balance: Meat in Twentieth-Century America," which includes papers by Uwe Spiekermann on Oscar Mayer and by Roger Horowitz on Agriprocessor and the decline of kosher meat. An example of the single papers of interest is Rebecca Kobrin's paper in session 18: "Creative Destruction: Jewish Immigrant Bankers, the Business of Mass Migration, and the Reshaping of American Capitalism, 1870–1914."
   Abstracts are available for most sessions and papers. Additional papers of interest can be found by searching for relevant key words; the search engine captures not only words in session and paper titles but also those in the abstracts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

CFP: Conference on Trade in Luxury Goods

A conference on "The Trade in Luxury and the Luxury of Trade," focusing on the production, display, and circulation of precious objects from the Middle Ages to the present day, will be held November 22-23, 2012, at the Musée Gadagne in Lyon. The conference is being organized by the Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes (LARHRA). The organizers explain:
the objective is to reveal the richness and diversity of a phenomenon referred to as ‘luxury,’ and the progressive emergence of specialized markets. Two specific approaches will thus be developed in the conference: on the one hand, a focus on people and goods, and on the other hand, a focus on points of sale and the material and symbolic power deriving from this particular sector of the economy.
Paper proposals should be sent to Alain Bonnet at the University of Nantes and to Natacha Coquery, at the University of Lyon 2. The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2012. For a full explanation of the meeting's objectives and themes, please see the call for papers (in French and English).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Company Bibliography Available at the University of Western Ontario

In 1992 the libraries of the University of Western Ontario tried to identify the company histories scattered throughout their holdings and to pull them together in one source, Business & History at Western: A Guide to Selected Resources in the UWO Library System. This work has now been placed on-line, at an expanded and on-going site, Books about Companies. As the compilers explain,
Since 1992 more company-related books have been discovered in the stacks and many more have been published. . . . The list is continually under construction and new company histories are added as they arrive. As well, we have included the company histories that are often found (but rarely indexed) in reference works or in books about industries. For example, this guide will direct you to the company histories found in The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising and to the short sketches found in The World Guide to Automobile Manufacturers.
   Although the great majority of the entries are straightforwardly bibliographic, linking to the UWO catalog entry for each publication, occasional annotations to the list include reviews of the books and short bibliographies, as well as links to articles that have been scanned by the staff in the Business Library. Many pamphlets, such as the hundreds of relevant Newcomen Society publications, are included. For a fuller description of the plans and purposes of the site, please visit Books about Companies.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Business and Management History at BAM2011

Kevin Tennant, on his Business History blog, has posted a report on the recent British Academy of Management (BAM) meeting and the success of his and John Wilson's attempt "to revive the Business and Management History track" at this annual conference. Participants in the track included Andrew Godley, Terry Gourvish, and Stephanie Decker. The full listing can be found on the BAM program, at page 61. One promising aspect, Tennent reports, is the interest among management scholars in undertaking archival research, as demonstrated at a workshop session in which he talked about "Business Archives: why they are relevant to management academics and how to use them."
   Tennent concludes that "the papers . . . , together with the workshop sessions, contributed to a healthy meeting of minds and a forging of many new networking opportunities for all involved."

Tip of the hat to Andrew Smith's blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ann Carlos Awarded EHA's 2011 Hughes Prize

At its recent meeting, the Economic History Association awarded its Jonathan Hughes Prize to Ann Carlos, professor of economics at the University of Colorado and a longtime BHC member. Her research interests focus on the Canadian fur trade and on the growth and development of comparative business organizations in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She is the author most recently of Commerce by a Frozen Sea: Native Americans and the European Fur Trade (with Frank Lewis) (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).
  The EHA awards the prize, which recognizes excellence in teaching economic history, each year at its annual meeting. The award is given in honor of Jonathan Hughes, scholar and committed and influential teacher of economic history, former chair of the Economics Department at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Vital Few: The Entrepreneur and American Economic Progress (1966; Oxford University Press, 1986 [exp. ed.]).
   A full list of EHA prizes awarded can be found on the organization's website.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Open Content from JSTOR and the AHA

Earlier this month JSTOR, the well-known repository of journal articles, made pre-1923 content available without charge; for materials published outside the United States, the date is 1870. The copyright term outside the United States is set at the life of the author plus seventy years, so JSTOR picked 1870 as "a reasonable date to assume that all copyright is expired." JSTOR also released a FAQ explaining the decision and usage terms.
    The JSTOR homepage now contains a direct link to a search site with an option to limit one's search to free access articles, which number almost a half million; if one searches the entire site, free materials are designated by a check mark icon.
     In another development, the American Historical Association announced that, as of September 1, 2011, its on-line jobs listing will be available to everyone, not only to AHA members. Nonmembers can access the ads after a simple registration process that requires creation of a login account. The search engine has been updated as well, so that, in addition to searching for jobs by category, title, institution, and location, one can search by rank. The list is updated every Friday.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hagley Expands DuPont Exhibit

The Hagley Library and Museum has recently revised and expanded its digital exhibition, "The DuPont Company on the Brandywine." The exhibit, which features many illustrations from Hagley's holdings, can be accessed by topics categorized by "People," "Place," or "Product." As the curators say, "These sources provide a detailed account of the nineteenth century history of the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, the du Pont family, key company administrators and investors, company employees, DuPont's customers, and early gunpowder-making processes and equipment." The revised site includes interactive maps, such as one that details the local sale of powder, 1804-1806. In addition, a Primary Sources page provides links to a selection of DuPont Company manuscripts and archives that have been digitized and are available online.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

History of Family Firm Network Launched

The Network of Interdisciplinary Research in Family Firms (NIRFF) is,as the website explains,
an academic network composed of scholars from different scientific disciplines and countries who share a common interest in exchanging knowledge about methodologies and theories related to family businesses, in a virtual and informal way. Our common goal is to share scientific tools that significantly improve the analysis of particular case studies and above all that favour the comparison and the elaboration of general conclusions. The network offers information about distinguished scholars from different disciplines and countries specialized in the study of family businesses, in order to promote possibilities for: contact, organization of activities, knowledge exchange, and debate.
The group's website, based at the University of Barcelona, offers information about new research, publications, conference appearances, and other initiatives relating to the study of family firms in business history. The site also includes a list of researchers with their contact information, bibliography, and research interests.

Monday, September 12, 2011

“Historically Speaking” Features Forum on The Great Divergence

The September issue of Historically Speaking, the bulletin of the Historical Society (THS), features a forum entitled "Ten Years After: Reflections on Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence" (full title: The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton University Press, 2000). As explained in the introduction, the forum consists of papers from a panel hosted by the Economic History Association at the 2011 meeting of the American Historical Association in Boston. The five panelists have revised their papers for Historically Speaking. Philip Hoffman, Peter Coclanis, Jan de Vries, and R. Bin Wong comment on The Great Divergence, and Kenneth Pomeranz responds.
   Historically Speaking is available to non-THS members via Project Muse, usually accessible through college and university libraries; brief abstracts are available to all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

CFP: “Information, Intermediation, and Financial Markets”

A workshop on "Information, Intermediation, and Financial Markets" will be held at the University of California, Riverside, on January 20-21, 2012. It will center on a discussion of the historical development of information management and intermediation in financial markets before the creation of modern banks. According to the call for papers,
The workshop will bring together research on different parts of the world and different times in history to compare and connect the many complementary forms of financial intermediation that have supported the historical development of financial markets and economic growth.
 Please consult the full call for papers for a more detailed exposition. Those wishing to contribute a paper should submit an abstract and short bio before September 30, 2011, to Christiaan van Bochove ( The workshop organizers are Juliette Levy, University of California, Riverside; Ghislaine Lydon, University of California, Los Angeles; Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, California Institute of Technology; and Christiaan van Bochove, Utrecht University.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CFP: Transportation Conference at UC Irvine

The All-University of California Economic History Group, the School of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and the Department of Economics at UC Irvine will jointly sponsor a conference on "Transport, Institutions, and Economic Performance: Historical Perspectives," to be held December 9-10, 2011, at UC Irvine. According to the call for papers,
This conference will examine the interaction between politics, law, and transport performance as well as the complex relationship between transport and economic development. The goal is to bring together scholars studying different transport technologies and in different parts of the world  throughout the long time span from 1600 to 1950. We welcome in particular papers on direct and indirect impacts of transport innovation, the political economy of transport subsidy and regulation, organization of transportation firms, and transportation and the location of economic activity. . . . We especially welcome paper proposals from graduate students.
Those interested should submit a one-page paper proposal to Dan Bogart ( and William Summerhill ( by Monday, September 26, 2011. Presenters will be notified by September 30.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Exhibit: Railroads and the Transformation of Capitalism

Railroads and the Transformation of Capitalism is the newest exhibit from Baker Library's Historical Collections. Using the Harvard Business School library's extensive materials, the site "explores the continuing research in the history and role of railroads in creating not only the foundations of modern business, but also a system of modern capitalism that survives to this day." The exhibit is divided into several sections, including foreign and U.S. railroads, finance, management, and mergers and syndicates. The site also contains a "Research Links" page that provides greater detail about Baker's holdings relevant to railroad history.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September Enterprise & Society Contents Posted

The September 2011 issue of Enterprise & Society is now available on the Oxford University Press website. Full text access requires a subscription (included in BHC membership), but the abstracts are accessible by all.
  Contents include:
Milena Veenis
Cola in the German Democratic Republic. East German Fantasies on Western Consumption
V. Necla Geyikdagi
French Direct Investments in the Ottoman Empire Before World War I
Hugo van Driel and Bas Koene
The Rhetoric of Restraint: The Struggle for Legitimacy of the Dutch Temporary Work Agency Industry, 1961–1996
Adrian R. Bell and Richard S. Dale 
The Medieval Pilgrimage Business
as well as nearly 40 book reviews.