Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BHSJ English-Language Program Now Posted

Founded in 1964, the Business History Society of Japan (BHSJ) will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. In celebration, it is holding a conference on the theme “New Horizons in Business History,” to take place at Bunkyo Gakuin University, Hongo Campus, on September 11-13, 2014. The meeting will "bring together renowned researchers from Japan, Europe, the United States, and Asia to give keynote lectures on challenges facing the discipline and ideal approaches for future progress." The BHSJ has scheduled English-language sessions on each of the three days; that program has now been posted.
   For details about registration, lodging, and other information, please see the meeting website.

Monday, July 28, 2014

BHC Searching for Doctoral Colloquium Director

The Business History Conference invites expressions of interest from senior scholars who would like to direct the BHC’s Doctoral Colloquium. The BHC sponsors the Colloquium with the generous support of Cambridge University Press.
    The Director works with the Colloquium faculty each year to select ten outstanding dissertation students from an international pool. The Colloquium begins with a dinner, then meets the following day, immediately before the BHC’s annual meeting. The Colloquium provides the students with substantive critiques and discussions from a diverse group of senior scholars, including past and incoming BHC presidents. The Director interacts with the best new scholars in business history and related fields and can help guide their work while leading the selection process, chairing sessions, and maintaining ongoing communications with students and faculty.
     A student liaison, selected from the previous year's Colloquium, assists with administration. The incoming Director will begin a three-year term in 2016 and have the opportunity to follow the 2015 process.
     For additional information, see Please contact the current Director, Pamela Laird, at +1 303/556-4497 or, for more information. Send expressions of interest to Laird, Kenneth Lipartito,, and Roger Horowitz, BHC Secretary/Treasurer,, by October 30, 2014.

Friday, July 25, 2014

History of Capitalism Conference Program Now Available

The History of Capitalism Initiative at Cornell University is holding its inaugural conference, titled "The Histories of American Capitalism," on November 6-8, 2014, at the ILR School's Conference Center. The preliminary conference program has now been posted. In addition to numerous papers of interest, the conference will feature a keynote addresses by Orlando Patterson and Guy Standing and plenary talks by Richard White, Peniel Joseph, Julia Ott, Nancy Folbre, and Jackson Lears.
    Registration is now open; for details about lodging and directions, please consult the conference website.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Video Resource: “Management History Film of the Week”

Kevin Tennent, who teaches at the University of York Management School and chairs the Management and Business History track of the British Academy of Management, has set up a channel on YouTube called "Management History Film of the Week."  Although the name is somewhat of a misnomer, only a dozen items having been posted over the last few years, the videos available so far nevertheless provide insight into the companies featured and the contexts in which they operated. Titles include, for example, "Fairfield Ship Yard, Glasgow" (1960s); "Electronic Computers Improve Management Control" (1957); and "Silverwood Colliery" (1980s).
    Those interested in this type of resource might also like to check out the Research Guide for the "History and Forms" section of Movie Image Source, a web project of the Museum of the Moving Image.  It contains links to a number of sites that archive historical industrial film footage.

Monday, July 21, 2014

October 2014 PEAES Program Now Available

On October 24-25, 2014, the Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) will hold a conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, commemorating the program's fifteenth anniversary. The theme of the meeting is "Economic History's Many Muses." As PEAES director Cathy Matson writes, "This conference looks back over those fifteen years to reflect on a few of the central themes preoccupying economic historians during recent decades, how approaches and findings have changed, what achievements have been made, and how we can think about our future research in these vital subfields." The program and other conference details are now available on the PEAES website. Among the presenters are BHC trustees Caitlin Rosenthal, Stephen Mihm, and Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor.
    This conference is free and open to anyone interested in the topic, but preregistration is required. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

History of Capitalism Podcasts: Who Makes Cents?

David Stein, who recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, and Betsy A. Beasley, a graduate student at Yale University, have created a podcast series, "Who Makes Cents? A History of Capitalism Podcast."  As the founders explain, the podcast "is a monthly program devoted to bringing you quality, engaging stories that explain how capitalism has changed over time. We interview historians and social and cultural critics about capitalism’s past, highlighting the political and economic changes that have created the present." Stein and Beasley have written a guest post on the U.S. Intellectual History blog in which they expand on their project.
   There are three episodes so far:
  • Episode 1 (May): Louis Hyman on the History of Consumer Credit
  • Episode 2 (June): Julia Ott on the History of Widespread Stock Ownership
  • Episode 3 (July): Sarah Nicolazzo on 18th-Century Vagrancy
News of the series also can be followed on Facebook and on Twitter and episodes downloaded without charge from the iTunes store.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On-Line Resource: Historical U.S. Agricultural Statistics

The United States Department of Agriculture runs a National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), which "prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture." Last summer, NASS put seventy-seven years of historical agricultural data on-line by digitizing its annual publication, Agricultural Statistics, from 1936 to 2012. In addition to data on all U.S. agricultural products (including plants, animal, and dairy), there are also chapters in each year's report on topics such as farm income and expenses, subsidies and taxes, and the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
    The PDF files are not searchable, although the publications from 1994 to 2005 are also available on a CD-ROM that includes enhanced searching capabilities not available on the Internet version.
    In addition to this major digitization project, the NASS website also holds shorter runs of data on a wide range of economic issues related to agriculture. Digitized information varies widely by topic and time period, but those interested in this field will find a great deal of information tucked away on the NASS website.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Web Exhibit: “The Art of American Advertising, 1865-1910”

Poster, Prang and Mayer, Lithographer, Boston, c. 1856-60; Advertising Ephemera Collection, Baker Library

New this year from Historical Collections at Baker Library, Harvard Business School, is "The Art of American Advertising, 1865-1910." According to the exhibit's home page,

Capitalizing on the growing industries of advertising and printing, companies with products to sell reached wholesalers, retailers, and home consumers through media of all shapes, sizes, colors, and imagery—from trade catalogs and trade cards to broadsides and posters to souvenir publications and novelty items. The emerging advertising profession after the Civil War represents a marketing revolution in which technology, creativity, and art were marshaled together to serve commercial ends. Drawing from Baker Library’s Historical Collections, The Art of American Advertising, 1865-1910 explores the role these burgeoning and extraordinarily inventive forms of advertising played in marketing mass-produced products to the evolving American consumer culture.
In addition to divisions by type of advertising, the exhibit contains several topical sections, including "National Markets," "Brand Name Management," and "A Marketing Revolution."
    Within the Advertising Ephemera Collection, Baker Library holds more than 8,000 trade cards, over 1,100 of which have been digitized; they can be accessed on-line through Harvard's Visual Information Access (VIA) system. A full discussion of Baker's holdings in this area can be found on the exhibit's "Research Links" page.

Friday, July 11, 2014

“Mammon and Armageddon” Workshop Program Available

Those unable to attend the two-day workshop on "Mammon and Armageddon: The Impact of the First World War on International Business," may wish to consult the program to see the paper topics. Andrew Smith, one of the meeting organizers (along with Simon Mollan and Kevin Tennent), has now posted it on his blog, "The Past Speaks."  Session topics include: "The City of London at War"; "Science, Technology, and Business at War"; "Profiting from Neutrality"; "The Impact of the War on International Finance"; "Post-War Reconstruction"; and "Legacies."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Program Available: Business History at the SHEAR Conference

SHEAR (Society for Historians of the Early American Republic) is holding its annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 17-20, 2014.  The program, now available online, includes many panels and papers of interest to business and economic historians.
Session 25: "Valuing Intangibles: Experimenting with Markets in the Early Republic," chaired by Wendy Woloson
Session 35: "Women and Economic Spaces in Early Republican Philadelphia," chaired by Dallitt Hemphill [Papers for this session are available online here.]
Session 37: "Fine and Popular: The Commerce of Art in Antebellum Philadelphia," chaired by Sarah Weatherwax
Session 40: "The South American Question in the Early Republic: Diplomacy, State Building, and Political Economy"
Session 46 (Presidential Address): John L. Larson, "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations"
Session 54: "Women and Property in Early America," chaired by Kirsten E. Wood
Individual Papers:
Session 1: Eva Sheppard Wolf, "Slavery, Capitalism, and Free Labor in the Early Republic"
Session 3: Brenden Kennedy, "Andrew Jackson and the Financing of Slavery's Expansion"
Session 17: Ariel Ron, "Bringing the Whigs Back In: Slavery, Economy and Government in the Origins of the Republican Party"
Session 18: Dael Norwood, "Commercially Informed: The Political Consequences of the Early American Consular Network in Asia"
Session 21, SHEAR Meets STEM (President's Plenary): Caitlin Rosenthal, "Math"
[A bibliography for this session is now available on the meeting website.]
Session 28: Claire Gherini, "Treating and Debating Yellow Fever in Jamaica's Credit Economy, 1788-1794"
Session 32: Hannah Farber, " 'Warranted American': Marks, Images, and the Nationalization of Commercial Property"
Session 45: Susan Gaunt Stearns, "Western Cotton, World Markets: Trade and Geopolitics of the West"
Session 53: Patrick Callaway, "The Resources with Which to Fight: The United States Government and the Failure of American Economic Strategy, 1807-1815" 
Additional information can be found on the SHEAR meeting website.

Monday, July 7, 2014

HBS Business History Fellowship Announcements

Harvard Business School has announced guidelines for its fellowships in business and economic history for the 2015-2016 academic year:

Thomas K. McCraw Fellowship
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. Please send a cover letter, CV, a two- to three-page research proposal, and two letters of reference to Walter A. Friedman, Connell 301A, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163, USA, or via email to Letters of reference must be sent directly to the above address by the recommenders. 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
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 stay 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. Please send a cover letter that includes when you would like to be in residence, a CV, a two- to three-page research proposal, and two letters of reference to Walter A. Friedman, Connell 301A, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163, USA, or via e-mail to Letters of reference must be sent directly to the above address by the recommenders. 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
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 nontenured faculty in those fields from other universities—US and abroad—whose research requires travel to Baker Library and other local archives; or 3) Harvard College undergraduates writing senior theses in these fields whose research requires travel away from Cambridge. Please send a CV, a 1-2 page summary of past academic research, a 2-3 page research proposal (including the amount of grant required), and one letter of reference to Walter A. Friedman, Connell 301A, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA 02163, USA or via e-mail to by November 3 of the year preceding the year the Fellowship is to be used. Recommender is to send letter of reference directly to the above address.

The Harvard-Newcomen Postdoctoral Fellowship in Business History
This Fellowship will be awarded for twelve months’ residence, study, and research at Harvard Business School. The fellowship is open to scholars who, within the last ten years, have received a Ph.D. in history, economics, or a related discipline. The fellowship has two purposes: The first is to enable scholars to engage in research that will benefit from the resources of Harvard Business School and the larger Boston scholarly community. A travel fund and a book fund will be provided. The second is to provide an opportunity for the fellow to participate in the activities of Harvard Business School. The fellow is required to research and write a case, under the direction of a senior faculty member, to be used in one of the business history courses. The Fellowship will begin July 1.
    Applicants should submit a CV, undergraduate transcript and graduate-school record, thesis abstract, and writing sample (such as an article or a book chapter). Applicants should also state the topics, objectives, and design for the specific research to be undertaken. Finally, applicants should indicate the names of three people who will write references on their behalf. The three letters of recommendation are to be submitted by the writers directly by October 15 of the calendar year preceding that in which the fellowship is to be used. It is the responsibility of the applicant to solicit these letters. Applications should be received no later than October 15 and submitted online to:
Please direct your recommenders to visit:

Harvard University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

For more information about all of these fellowships, please visit the HBS Fellowships website:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Thomas Piketty To Deliver Keynote at 2015 BHC/EBHA Meeting

Thomas Piketty
Thomas Piketty, professor of economics at the Paris School of Economics and author of Capital in the 21st Century (Harvard University Press, 2014), will deliver the keynote address at the joint meeting of the Business History Conference and the European Business History Association, to be held in Miami, Florida, on June 24-27, 2015. His area of study is ideally suited to the theme of the meeting, which will be “Inequalities: Winners and Losers in Business.” According to the publisher's blurb,
Piketty shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality—the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth—today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values.
    Piketty's work has become the object of widespread commentary, some of which we have chronicled on The Exchange. For further information about the BHC/EBHA 2015 meeting, please see the meeting website.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Around the Web: Materials of Interest

A rather eclectic listing of recent material of interest to business and economic historians:
Jill Lepore published a critique of Clayton Christensen and "Disruptive Innovation" in The New Yorker; this generated a good deal of commentary, most notably a response from Christensen.
BackStory with the American History Guys aired a program on the history of corporations in America (shortly before the Hobby Lobby decision).
Lou Galambos's keynote address at the 2013 EBHS Conference, "Is This a Decisive Moment for the History of Business, Economic History, and the History of Capitalism?" is now available online.
Yet more about Thomas Piketty and Capitalism in the 21st Century:
      "Picketty Mania," from The Guardian (June 17, 2014)
      An extended review by Cory Doctorow in Boing Boing
Two series of posts of interest from the Legal History Blog:
       Dan Ernst has written a several-part discussion of his new book, Tocqueville's Nightmare: The Administrative State Emerges in America, 1900-1940 (Oxford University Press, May 2014).
      From Profsblawg, but linked neatly on the Legal History Blog: A symposium on Mehrotra's Making the Modern American Fiscal State (Cambridge University Press, 2013).