Friday, March 30, 2012

NARA to Release 1940 Census

On April 2 at 9:00 a.m., the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will make individual records from the 1940 U.S. Census available to the public for the first time. The U.S. Census Bureau has set up a special site in anticipation of the release. It contains links, an interactive overview of the 1940 Census, historical facts, videos, and pictures, and comparisons of the results of the 1940 Census with corresponding information from the 2010 Census. The preview site is well worth a look on its own. The Census website will directly link to the National Archives site.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ABH Launches Business History Site

"The Business Historian" is a site devoted to the aggregation of business and management history content on the web. Managed by Kevin Tennent of the University of York, who also publishes "The Business History Blog" (which he has said will probably no longer be active), the "newspaper" "aims to bring you the best daily digest of business and management history related posts on the web." It is billed as "the weekly paper of the Association of Business Historians." offers news aggregation software that allows editors to collect content according to criteria and sources that they designate and then display it in a newspaper-style format. The site can search blogs, Twitter, Facebook, news media, and indeed any open website for content. Editors have some flexibility and control in accepting and ordering the data that collects.

Monday, March 26, 2012

CFP: Global Commodities Conference

The Global History and Culture Centre at the University of Warwick has issued a call for papers for its upcoming conference on "Global Commodities: The Material Culture of Early Modern Connections, 1400-1800," to be held on December 12-14, 2012. The organizers explain: "This conference seeks to explore how our understanding of early modern global connections changes if we consider the role material culture played in shaping such connections."
   Contributions in the following areas are particularly welcome, though the list is not intended to be exclusive:
specific commodities, luxuries and artistic objects, including traded goods, rarities, objects in cabinets of curiosities and their role in elite and non-elite consumption;
the role of nodes (ports and ships, custom and auction houses, courts and cities) in the global exchange of goods;
production for global markets/distant markets, with special reference to issues of design, customization and quality.
Papers should be no more than twenty minutes long. Proposals for sessions of three or four papers are also welcome. To submit a proposal, please send a 200-word abstract of the proposed paper, together with a one-page CV, to or via mail to Global History and Culture Centre, Department of History, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK. The closing date for proposals is June 1, 2012.  
   Please see the complete call for papers for additional details.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Business Historians Join Fight To Save Wedgwood Collection

The company founded by Josiah Wedgwood was merged with Waterford in 1986, and then "fell into administration" in 2009. A High Court judge in the UK ruled on December 19, 2011, that the Wedgwood Museum's 10,000-piece collection of  fine pottery is not held in trust, and so can be sold to pay off a claim by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).  New pensions legislation holds any solvent organization liable for the entire debt of a pension fund if any of its employees are in that pension fund; the museum has five eligible employees. The government has just announced that it sees no legal ground on which to appeal the ruling, creating a firestorm of negative reaction. It is hoped that private or public benefactors will be found to prevent the collection's being broken up and to keep it available for public display.
    Andrew Popp, John Wilson, and Robin Holt of the University of Liverpool School of Management have written in opposition to the sale of the museum's collection. They said, in part, "We are deeply concerned at the implications of this decision – a vital part of the nation’s industrial, economic and cultural heritage is now under threat of dispersal, moving overseas or into private ownership. This would be a tragedy – the artefacts and archives of Wedgwood are every bit as important to this country, its history, and its identity as any painting, stately home, or other piece of fine art."
    An overall explanation of the situation, with a good list of links to the parliamentary and media coverage can be found here.
    For a brief history of Josiah Wedgwood's company, see here; for images, see the Wedgwood Museum website. The company features prominently in Regina Blaszczyk's Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning (Johns Hopkins, 2000).

Tip of the hat to Andrew Smith at The Past Speaks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CFP: Asian Historical Economics Conference

Paper proposals are invited for a conference on Asian Historical Economics that will take place in Tokyo on September 13-15, 2012. The conference is the fourth in a series which began at Hitotsubashi University in 2007 and continued with meetings at Venice in 2008 and Beijing in 2010. At Beijing, it was decided to establish an Asian Historical Economics Society to organize a biennial conference, with an open call for papers. This fourth conference in Tokyo thus builds on the success of the earlier conferences, but also marks the beginning of a new phase with wider participation. The conference aims to bring together researchers working on the economic history of all the main regions of Asia, as well as those comparing Asia with other regions. The conference will build on a number of themes where research is currently active. Please see the full call for papers for a list of suggested topics.
   For each proposed paper, an abstract not exceeding 500 words, together with institutional affiliation and e-mail address of the authors, should be sent by e-mail and in Word format by March 31, 2012, to: Proposals for complete sessions of three linked papers will also be considered. Please also indicate whether or not you are likely to require financial support from the organizers.
   Further details are available on the conference website at:

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Bass Business History Collection at the University of Oklahoma

Part of the Bizzell Memorial Library at the University of Oklahoma, the Harry W. Bass Business History Collection contains a number of important resources, some of them now available in digital form. Daniel A. Wren, the long-time curator of the collection, has created a video that describes the collection's origins and scope. As the Bass Collection website explains,
The collection's purpose is stated broadly to include not only histories of business leaders and firms but also the economic, social, and political forces that influenced the role of business in society. . . . In addition to a number of general reference items, the Collection houses close to 2000 rare books as well as manuscripts including the archives of J. and W. Seligman Company. The Bass Collection also holds the publications from the Retail Intelligence System (formerly known as Management Horizons). Our most recent acquisition is the Robert Kahn Collection on Retailing History. 
Digital materials include the Bulletin of the Taylor Society, Kahn's Retailing Today, papers from the Western Electric Hawthorne Project, a number of audio files of interviews with business leaders, and finding aids for the library's collection of Northern Pacific and Great Northern railroads materials.
  The Bass Collection currently contains about 23,000 books, in addition to manuscript, video, and audio materials. Items in the collection do not circulate, but researchers are always welcome.

Friday, March 16, 2012

WMQ Publishes Forum on Mercantilism

Early modernist readers may be interested in a Forum called "Rethinking Mercantilism," published in the January 2012 issue of the William & Mary Quarterly. Contents include:
Steve Pincus, “Rethinking Mercantilism: Political Economy, the British Empire, and the Atlantic World in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries”

Cathy Matson, “Imperial Political Economy: An Ideological Debate and Shifting Practices
Christian J. Koot, “Balancing Center and Periphery”
Susan D. Amussen, “Political Economy and Imperial Practice”
Trevor Burnard, “Making a Whig Empire Work: Transatlantic Politics and the Imperial Economy in Britain and British America”
Margaret Ellen Newell, “Putting the “Political” Back in Political Economy (This Is Not Your Parents’ Mercantilism)”
Steve Pincus, “Reconfiguring the British Empire”
Full access to articles requires a subscription, but those interested can read an abstract of the introduction.
   The same issue also contains Farley Grubb's article on “State Redemption of the Continental Dollar, 1779-90” (abstract here).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CFP: CHORD 2012 Conference

For its next annual conference, to be held September 5-6, 2012, at the University of Wolverhampton, the Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution (CHORD) invites proposals that explore retailing and/or distribution from a historical perspective. Papers focusing on all historical periods or geographical areas and based on any methodological and disciplinary perspective are welcome. Themes of interest include—but are not limited to:
Commercial cultures;
Retailing and distribution in popular culture and the media;
Innovation and change / stagnation and failure;
Credit, finance and the economics of retailing and distribution;
Large-scale retailing—super, hyper, monster;
Crime and illegal practices;
Politics, the state and individual enterprise;
Ethics and fairness;
Markets, informal exchanges, penny capitalism;
Retailing and distribution in hard times;
Advertising, marketing and sales strategies;
Retailing and distribution work, from 'management' to the shop floor;
Distribution networks, business links
Proposals are invited both for individual papers and for themed sessions (normally three papers). To submit a proposal, those interested should send a title, a one-page abstract, a list of 3 to 5 key words, and, if proposing a session, a cover letter with title and one-paragraph session description, to: Laura Ugolini at by May 4, 2012. Questions may also be addressed to Dr. Ugolini.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Banking and Monetary History Project Websites Available

Two new websites of interest have recently launched, one focusing on monetary history and one on banking regulation. The first is DAMIN: Silver Monetary Depreciation and International Relations (Dépréciation de l’Argent Monétaire et relations Internationales)  The site explains:
The axis of the work is the study of the depreciation of silver in the second half of the XIXth century and its consequences in developed countries. We will study more specifically the differences between developed countries and Japan. . . . the history of Japan is a condensed history of European history: monetary unification, adoption of a silver coin, a change to the gold standard. As trade and finance were globalized, DAMIN will include all countries concerned by the silver question: USA, Latin America, Europe, India, China, Japan and all the connected questions (prices, transportation, import/export, etc.).
A first round table was held at Paris (January 2012) and a second is scheduled for May 16-17, 2013, in Madrid in association with the Casa de Velazquez. DAMIN is the project of a multinational consortium of scholars from Austria, Denmark, Greece, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom, with Georges Depeyrot serving as program coordinator.

   The second is "Banking Regulation—The Long View: Developing a Long-Term Perspective on Current Challenges." This is the website of a project sponsored by the Economic and Social  Research Council at the University of Glasgow, under the direction of Catherine Schenk. Titled "The Development of International Financial Regulation and Supervision, 1961-1982," the project will
assess the development of international financial regulation by contrasting studies of institutional decision-making in three international financial centres in the late 20th century (from 1961-1982) as the market and regulators responded to a series of challenges and at the same time embarked on a process of liberalisation. New York, London and Hong Kong offer a range of institutional and political economy contexts in which to examine how regulation was developed, coordinated and applied at both national and multinational levels. In addition to using the archives of central banks, multilateral organisations such as the IMF and Bank for International Settlements, this project will draw on the internal correspondence of international banks and their relations with regulating bodies.
   Both websites include details of previous and upcoming meetings of interest, publications of participants, and other current and scholarly information related to their topics.

Friday, March 9, 2012

JSTOR Further Broadens Access

Some time ago, we reported that JSTOR had opened up early journal material (pre-1923 for U.S. publications) to users without charge ("Early Journal Content"). In an effort to further broaden access for those not able to use JSTOR materials through institutional subscriptions, JSTOR has implemented the "Register & Read" program. This allows users who do not have access to JSTOR to register and gain read-only access to limited archival content. The program does not apply to material behind the "moving wall," which provides a time lag of 3-5 years for most journal content. There are limitations on the number of articles a user can view in a given time period.
   In the beta release of Register & Read, 75 journals will have some content available. It is hoped that more will be added. Among the included journals of possible interest to Exchange readers are
Academy of Management Journal (and 3 other Academy publications)
American Historical Review
Journal of Finance
Journal of Marketing
Journal of Marketing Research
William and Mary Quarterly
Please see the JSTOR "Register and Read" web page for more information about how to use this new tool and the restrictions that apply.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“Capitalism in America: A New History” Program Available

In February, the History of Capitalism Program at the University of Georgia held a conference titled "Capitalism in America: A New History." Although the meeting is past, the program and paper abstracts are still available on the conference website. Among the participants were Tracey Deutsch, Colleen Dunlavy, Richard John, Allan Kulikoff, and Naomi Lamoreaux. As the organizers see it,
Business historians, economic historians, labor historians, social historians, cultural historians, and political historians all continued to engage with the history of capitalism, but did so with distinct methodological and historiographical concerns that prevented the cross-pollination of ideas and the development of a coherent body of knowledge. In recent years, however, both young and established scholars have been producing cutting-edge work that seeks to unite these disparate fields under the rubric of the history of capitalism.
The Georgia History of Capitalism Program also runs an occasional workshop series and a graduate reading group.
   Readers might also be interested in the activities of the "Program on the Study of Capitalism" at Harvard University, which held a similar conference last November, partnering with the UK-based "Culture of the Market" Network.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Money Series at the Heyman Center

In an upcoming event in its "Money Series," the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University will feature "Debt: The Long View." The symposium will take place on Thursday, March 8, 2012, in the Davis Auditorium.
   Participants include David Graeber, Goldsmiths College; Louis Hyman, Cornell University; and Greta Krippner, University of Michigan; the moderators will be Peter Goodman of the Huffington Post and Daniel Immerwahr, post-doctoral research scholar at the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.
   The discussion will explore how debt has changed over time and its significance in our culture and society. Speakers will address the role of the state and banks in shaping our debt regime and the significance of Occupy Wall Street and other social movements that seek to resist or constrain the control of debtors by their creditors.
   The event is free and open to the public without tickets or registration, but seating is on a first come, first served basis.
   Other programs in the "Money Series" this term include
March 7: "Capitalism Today: Lessons from Europe"
March 28: "An Anthropologist on Wall Street"
April 20 (full-day conference): "The Culture of Credit"
For more information, please visit the Heyman Center website.

Friday, March 2, 2012

CFP: Association pour l’histoire des chemins de fer

Organized to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the railroad in France and on the Île-de-France, the conference will meet on November 22-24, 2012, in Paris. The meeting is being organized by the Association pour l’histoire des chemins de fer (AHICF), the Fédération des sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Paris et de l’Île-de-France, and the Région Île-de-France /Service Patrimoines et Inventaire.
   Those proposing papers should send the following information, no later than June 1, 2012:
     complete contact information;
     the proposed paper title and a one-page abstract ;
     the title and affiliation of the author(s) as they should appear
     on the program if the proposal were accepted
Materials may be sent via email to Please consult the full call for papers for additional information.