Wednesday, July 31, 2013

American Society for Legal History Program Available

The American Society for Legal History (ASLH) will meet in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area on November 7-10, 2013. The preliminary program, now posted on the ASLH website, has several papers of interest to business and economic historians.
   Of most interest is Panel C.5: "The Legal History of American Capitalism from Below," which will be chaired by Christopher Tomlins with commentary by Jonathan Levy. Panelists are Anne Fleming, Nate Holdren, and Adam Wolkoff.
Other panels include:
   Panel A.2: "The Origins of Constitutional and Corporate Law in International Perspective"
   Panel B.1: "Commerce and Obligation in the Islamic World, c. 1850-1919"
   Panel A.5: "Law and Counterrevolution: Charles Beard and the Origins of American Constitutionalism"
For information about the meeting and other details, please see the ASLH conference website.

Monday, July 29, 2013

CFP: Economic History Society 2014

The Economic History Society (EHS) will hold its 2014 meeting at the University of Warwick, March 28-30. The call for papers and on-line submission system are now available on the newly redesigned EHS website. According to the call,
The conference programme committee welcomes proposals on all aspects of economic and social history covering a wide range of periods and countries and, particularly, papers of an interdisciplinary nature. Preference may be given to scholars who did not present a paper at the previous year's conference. . . . The committee invites proposals for individual papers, as well as for entire sessions (3 speakers [optimum], 1.5 hours duration; no more than 4 papers will be accepted for any one session). The latter should include proposals and synopses for each paper in the session, although the committee reserves the right to determine which papers will be presented in the session if it is accepted. If a session is not accepted, the committee may incorporate one or more of the proposed papers into other panels.
Those currently studying for, or who have recently completed, a Ph.D. should submit a proposal to the New Researcher session. For more information and access to the on-line submission system, please visit the EHS Conference website. The deadline for New Researcher submissions is September 4, 2013; for other submissions, it is September 11, 2013.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

“Business and Politics in 20th Century America” Conference Schedule Posted

The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library will hold a one-day conference on November 8, 2013, on "Business and Politics in 20th Century America." The meeting, which will take place in the Hagley's Soda House, will run from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., preceded by coffee at 8, and followed by a reception. The program has now been posted; it includes sessions on "State-Building," "Shaping Conservatism," "Engaging with Liberalism," and "American Business in the World."
    There is no fee for the conference, but advance registration is required. To register and to obtain more information, call (302) 658-2400, ext. 243, or email Carol Lockman at

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Digital Resource: British Telecom E-Archives

Engineers working on the construction of the new London Central Exchange, 1901 (TCB 417/E 0287)
British Telecom (BT) has just launched a website providing access to a large portion of its archives for the period 1865-1983. The overall BT collection includes records, photographs, and films of BT itself, records of the Post Office telecommunications function, and of the private telephone and telegraph companies taken over by the Post Office in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Digital Archives project, as the developers explain, "aimed to catalogue, digitise and develop a searchable online resource of almost half a million photographs, images, documents and correspondence, a core part of the overall collection assembled by BT over 165 years, including over:
  • 45,000 photographs and pictures, c1865-1982
  • 190,000 pages from over 13,500 research reports, 1878-1981
  • 230,000 documents from over 550 policy and operational files, 1851-1983."
According to the launch announcement, "Anyone can view and search the records available on the website. Registered users will be able to download individual images for private non-commercial use. Academic and professional teaching practitioners can register to download higher quality images, and pdfs of whole reports and files, for private study, research and teaching."
     The BT Digital Archives was developed through the New Connections project, a one million pound collaboration between Coventry University, BT, and the UK National Archives. Coventry University's announcement of the launch provides a list of interesting documents—for example, "a letter from 1877 from Alexander Graham Bell’s agent offering Bell’s telephone to the British government, who turned it down."
    The BT Digital Archives incorporates the public catalogue of the whole BT collection. The wider collection, which occupies over three kilometers of shelving, is available to researchers for study at the BT Archives search room in Holborn, London.

Tip of the hat to The Past Speaks

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Call for Contributors: Routledge Companion to Business History

John Wilson (Newcastle University Business School), Steve Toms (Leeds University Business School), and Abe de Jong (Rotterdam School of Management), the editors of a new volume in the Routledge "Companion" series, a "Routledge Companion to Business History," have issued a call for contributors. According to the editors, "The purpose of this compendium is to enhance the research agenda, to develop knowledge and understanding, and to offer researchers and students an introduction to, and overview of, current scholarship in the expanding discipline of Business History." The call for contributors flyer provides a proposed table of contents and contact information for the editors. The deadline for expressions of interest is October 1, 2013.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

CFP: EBHS 2014 Conference

detail, Manchester from Kersal Moor, William Wyld (1852)
The Economic and Business History Society (EBHS) is now accepting proposals for its next annual conference, which will be held on May 29-31, 2014, in Manchester, UK. Proposals for presentations on any aspect of economic or business history are welcome, as are proposals for whole panels, typically of three presentations. Proposals should include an abstract of no more than 500 words, a brief CV, postal and email addresses, and telephone and fax numbers. Submissions from graduate students and non-academic affiliates are encouraged.
    Proposals may be submitted through the EBHS website, by email to, or by postal mail to the program chair: Mark Billings, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Business History, University of Exeter Business School, Streatham Court, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK.
    Please visit the EBHS website for the complete call for papers and submission directions. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2014.

Friday, July 12, 2013

CHORD Conference Program and Abstracts Now Available

The 2013 CHORD (Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution) Conference will be held on September 5 at the Marks & Spencer Company Archives in Leeds. The theme of the meeting is "Retailing and the Senses: Historical Perspectives." The conference organizers have now posted the program, paper abstracts, and full information about registration, fees, and the venue on the meeting website. Questions may be directed to Karin Dannehl at or Laura Ugolini at
    CHORD also has a new website where readers can find the latest information about the organization's activities.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Deadline Reminders for HBS Fellowships

The Business History Group at the Harvard Business School offers several fellowships, two of which have September deadlines.

The Thomas K. McCraw Fellowship seeks applicants who are established scholars from around the world interested in the business and economic history of the United States. The recipient receives a $7,000 stipend for travel and living expenses and is expected to be in residence at Harvard Business School a minimum of two months. Main activities include researching in Baker Library archives or other Boston-area libraries, presenting research at a seminar, and interacting with HBS faculty. Application materials and letters of reference are due by September 15 of the year preceding the year the Fellowship is to be used.

The Alfred D. Chandler Jr. International Visiting Scholar in Business History Program seeks applicants who are established scholars in business history based outside the United States. The recipient receives a $7,000 stipend and is required to be in residence at least two months but not more than six months at the Harvard Business School. Main activities include interacting with faculty and researchers, presenting work at research seminars, and researching business history. Application materials and letters of reference are due by September 15 of the year preceding the year the Fellowship is to be used.

The Alfred D. Chandler Jr. Travel Fellowships facilitate library and archival research in business or economic history. Grants range from $1,000 to $3,000. Applicants must be 1) Harvard University graduate students in history, economics, or business administration whose research requires travel to distant archives or repositories; 2) graduate students or non-tenured faculty in those fields from other universities in either the United States or abroad whose research requires travel to Baker Library and other Boston-area archives; or 3) Harvard College undergraduates writing senior theses in these fields whose research requires travel away from Cambridge. Application materials are due by November 1 of the year preceding the year the Fellowship is to be used.

For all these fellowships, materials should be sent to Walter A. Friedman, Connell 301A, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163, USA, or via email to Letters of reference must be sent directly by the recommenders.
    For more information and the application materials required for each of these fellowships, please visit the HBS Fellowships website:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Robert Weems Explores African American Entrepreneurs in Wichita, Kansas

Robert Weems Jr., courtesy Wichita State University
In 2011, Robert Weems, Jr., accepted a position as the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University. Since his arrival there, he has been researching the history of African American businesses in Wichita. Because many earlier African American businesses no longer exist, Weems is concerned that their histories will be lost, “this whole significant area of the African-American experience . . . come and gone with barely a trace.” “In general we know African-American history continues to be one of the more under-reported areas of historical inquiry,” says Weems. “But [when] we look at the economic and business dynamic of the African American experience, that’s especially underreported.” To help remedy the gap, he is conducting interviews with Wichita's surviving black entrepreneurs with a view to establishing a database of information about Wichita's African-American business history that will be of use to future students and scholars.  The interviews and other materials will be housed in the Ablah Library’s Special Collections at WSU. Weems can be heard discussing some of his findings in an interview on KMUW, Wichita Public Radio, which aired on June 27, 2013.
   Readers can also listen to a series of Weems' reports in the series "Past and Present" on KMUW.
   Weems, a long-time BHC member and a former Trustee, is the author of  Black Business in the Black Metropolis: The Chicago Metropolitan Assurance Company, 1925-1985 (1996), and Desegregating the Dollar: African American Consumerism in the Twentieth Century (1998); his most recent book is Business in Black and White: American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century (New York University Press, 2009). Weems can be seen discussing the latter book on C-Span in May 2012. His other current project is a biography of the Anthony Overton, the first African American to found a business conglomerate, who began his entrepreneurial career in Kansas City, Missouri.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

London Metro Archives Creates Guide to Its Business Holdings

The London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) has created a new collections aid, "Guide to Business Archives."  According to the LMA website,
London Metropolitan Archives holds the largest single collection of business archives held by a local authority in England and Wales. . . . The earliest business records date back to the fifteenth century. The records include management and financial series showing the changing fortunes of the companies, a vast array of production records with technological innovations illustrated through specifications, plans and photographs, rich sales, advertising and employment records.
The guide is a comprehensive A-Z listing of company names and individuals for which substantive catalogued business records are held by the LMA. There are two associated indexes–a trade subject index and a geography index for sites where companies operated outside the United Kingdom. There is also an explanatory introduction.
     For more information and to view the full guide, please consult the LMA Archives section on business and employment. There readers will also find links to the several other "information leaflets" that the LMA has published about specific aspects of its collections.

Hat tip to Andrew Smith at The Past Speaks.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Per Hansen Wins 2012 Henrietta Larson Article Award

Per H. Hansen has won the 2012 Henrietta Larson Article Award for his essay, “Business History: A Cultural and Narrative Approach," which appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of the Business History Review. The award is presented annually by the Harvard Business School to the best article published in the BHR, as selected by its editorial advisory board. Hansen, professor in the Department of Management, Politics, and Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School, is the current president of the Business History Conference and a council member of the European Business History Association. His primary research areas are financial history, with particular focus on financial and banking crises and modern Danish furniture. He is also interested in entrepreneurship and organizational culture, and identity and change in historical perspective. An earlier article, “Organizational Culture and Organizational Change: A Narrative Analysis of the Transformation of Savings Banks in Denmark, 1965-1990,” won the 2008 Newcomen Prize (now Oxford Journals Article Prize) for the best article published in Enterprise & Society in 2007.