Saturday, February 14, 2015

Over the Counter: Issue No. 12

In honor of the date, we begin with a post from the National Museum of American History offering a brief history of the telegraph and telephone as communication media for valentines, "Love on the Lines."  Followed by "Mother of the Valentine," from the American Antiquarian Society blog, about Esther Howland and the birth of the valentine industry in the United States. And finally, from the Ms. Magazine blog, vintage valentines promoting women's suffrage.

Open access articles of interest:
   The Journal of American History has made 38 articles freely available under the rubric Editor's Choice; they include the essays from the special issue on the history of oil and from a Roundtable on conservatism.
  The Journal of Economic History has made "American Banking and the Transportation Revolution before the Civil War," by Jeremy Atack, Matthew Jaremski, and Peter L. Rousseau ungated until March 1.

"Conversant," the blog of the Peabody Essex Museum, has a guest post by Jordan Smith on "Farmers, Fishermen, and Distillers: Essex County's Place in the History of Rum"; his research reveals that "the North Shore's distilleries were a part of an Atlantic--and sometimes even global--rum production complex."

The David Rumsey Map Collection website recently featured a remarkable box cover and game board for a "Voyage from New York to San Francisco upon the Union Pacific Railroad" (1870). The board shows views of places and scenes along the Union Pacific route; for the two views and the game instructions, visitors should click on the thumbnails on the upper right of the Rumsey site.

On a similar note, Slate has published a review of Mary Pilon's The Monopolists, which traces the history of the board game's contested origins. And Pilon herself discusses the story in the New York Times.

A website and database of interest: "Her Hat Was in the Ring," a creation of Wendy E. Chmielewski of Swarthmore and Jill Norgren of CUNY. The site aims to provide information about all the U.S. women who campaigned for elective office before late 1920 (prior to the passage of the 19th amendment).

We report with regret that the London School of Economics is closing the Business History Unit in the wake of the retirement of the Unit's long-time director, Terry Gourvish. has an article on the History of the ATM, featuring commentary by Bernardo Batiz-Lazo, the author of Cash Box: The Invention and Globalization of the ATM.

In January, New York Magazine asked 53 historians to rate Barack Obama as president; among those offering opinions are Joyce Appleby, Edward Baptist, Jackson Lears, James Livingston, Kim Phillips-Fein, Thomas Sugrue, and Gavin Wright. Full responses from all 53 are here.

Brian Luskey wrote on an aspect of capitalism--recruitment fraud--during the Civil War for the New York Times "Disunion" project: "Men Is Cheap."