Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Web Resource: LSE Digital Library

The Digital Library of the London School of Economics (LSE) is a growing collection of items from the School's holdings. According to the website, the Digital Library
is the Library's repository of digital items and collections. These items and collections are made available online for anyone who might wish to make use of them for education, research or general interest. . . . The Digital Library contains digitised material from the Library's collections and also born-digital material that has been collected and preserved in digital formats.
The site is searchable, or users may browse through various collections. These currently include tracts, minute books, and pamphlets from the Fabian Society and the Young Fabians; the papers of Lionel Robbins (including his Bretton Woods diary); materials from the LSE Women's Library (including a chronological presentation of more than 300 items from the 16th century to the present); poster collections (including, for example, political and tariff reform posters); The Beaver (the paper of LSE's Student Union); a digitized version of Street Life in London (1876-77); and Beatrice Webb's diaries.

    The plan is to continue to expand the digital materials to include maps and statistical material.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Program Posted: OIEAHC-SEA Conference

Detail, Chicago 1868, Library of Congress
 The 2015 meeting of the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture (OIEAHC), which will be held jointly with the Society of Early Americanists (SEA), will take place in Chicago on June 18-21, 2015. The program has now been posted. Probably of most direct interest are Session 16, on the French Company of the Indies in the Atlantic world; Session 29, on "Commerce, Health, and Medical Knowledge in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World"; Session 35, "Smuggling almost with impunity"; and Session 37, "Doing Business in the Early Atlantic." Several other sessions include papers on areas such as property rights, slavery, gender, and material culture also of interest to business and economic historians.

    For full information about the conference, please see the meeting website.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Program: 2015 Congress of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

The 14th Congress of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS) will be held at Erasmus University in Rotterdam on July 27-31, 2015. The ISECS is an interdisciplinary organization, home to members working in a variety of disciplines, time periods, and geographical spaces, and offering materials in both English and French. Because the theme of the 14th Congress (comprehensively described here) is "Opening Markets: Trade and Commerce in the Eighteenth Century," many of the sessions will be of interest. The full draft program has now been posted. 
    Early registration ends on May 15, 2015; on-line registration closes on July 15. For complete information about the meeting, please visit the Congress website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Books of Interest: Spring Edition

A list, by no means complete, of books of interest to business and economic historians published or forthcoming between March and June 2015 :

Francesca Bray, Peter Coclanis, Edda Fields-Black, and Dagmar Schaefer, eds., Rice: Global Networks and New Histories (Cambridge University Press, March 2015)

Richard Davenport-Hines, Universal Man: The Lives of John Maynard Keynes (Basic Books, May 2015)

Timothy Gloege, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (North Carolina University Press, April 2015)

Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (Basic Books, April 2015)

David Kynaston and Richard Roberts, The Lion Wakes: A Modern History of HSBC (Profile Books, March 2015)

Adrian Leonard and David Pretel, eds., The Caribbean and the Atlantic World Economy: Circuits of Trade, Money and Knowledge, 1650-1914 (Palgrave Macmillan April 2015)

Paul Lerner, The Consuming Temple: Jews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880–1940 (Cornell University Press, April 2015)

Douglas McCalla, Consumers in the Bush: Shopping in Rural Upper Canada (McGill-Queen's University Press, March 2015)

Calvin Schermerhorn, The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860 (Yale University Press, April 2015)

Brett Sheehan, Industrial Eden: A Chinese Capitalist Vision (Harvard University Press, April 2015)

Robert E. Wright and Richard Sylla, Genealogy of American Finance (Columbia University Press, March 2015)

For a more extensive selection, please see the "Books of Interest" section of the BHC website.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Workshop: “Varieties of Capitalism in the Americas”

On June 4, 2014, the Centre for Economic and Business History (CEBH) at the University of Nottingham is holding a one-day workshop on "The Varieties of Capitalism in the Americas." According to the announcement,
This workshop aims to investigate the various histories and varieties of capitalism in the Americas. It is a common trope that in the US, at least, the War of Independence heralded in a modern, more capitalist (and better?) society. However, there are many definitions of capitalism and many types; taking case studies from 16th-century South America to the 21st-century US, this workshop aims to challenge any simple teleology of the rise or development of capitalism, or indeed any central type.
Speakers and topics are
Dr Elvira Vilches, North Carolina State University
Reckoning for Silver: The Global, the Local, and the Making of Money in Colonial Latin America
Dr Emma Hart, University of St Andrews
Trading Cattle and the Histories of Early American Capitalism
Dr Rory Miller, University of Liverpool
Business Groups, Multinationals and the State: Latin American Varieties of Capitalism
Dr Marc-William Palen, University of Exeter
Copying American Capitalism: The Global Response to American Economic Nationalism
Abstracts of some papers are available here. The workshop is free, but attendees must register, no later than May 18. For additional details, please see the meeting website.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Over the Counter: Issue No. 14

"The Vault" at Slate recently displayed a telephone map of the United States in 1910, showing where lines existed at that time. The original source is the David Rumsey Map Collection.

98 Acres in Albany is a community history project dedicated to documenting the people displaced and the structures demolished to make way for the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza. The goal is to digitally reconstruct and repopulate the 40 city blocks as they were in 1962. The website is the creation of Ann Pfau (independent historian), David Hochfelder (University of Albany), and Stacy Sewell (St. Thomas Aquinas College).

Jonathan Coopersmith has become a blogger for HNN, with a series called "Infinity, Limited."

A number of recent texts of interest have been in the news:
  • At New Books in History, Gavin Wright is interviewed about Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the American South (Harvard University Press).
  • Steve Fraser's The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power (Little, Brown) was reviewed by Naomi Klein in the New York Times; Fraser can be heard discussing the book on NPR's On Point; and he writes about the book on the History News Network.
  • Claire Potter, who writes the "Tenured Radical" blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education, focuses on Michael Zakim's article on "Paperwork" in the journal Raritan (vol. 33, no. 4).
  • The Spectator has a review of Richard Davenport-Hines' recent biography of John Maynard Keynes, Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes (Collins).
  • Cambridge University Press has posted a YouTube interview with Simon Ville, co-editor (with Glenn Withers) of the Cambridge Economic History of Australia.
The Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford recently held a conference on "Gold Rush Imperialism: Gold Mining and Global History in the Age of Imperialism, c.1848-1914." The program is available here.

The blog for JF Plak Science Books has posted an interesting array of illustrations from a World War II propaganda publication, The Battle of Supplies.

William Lazonick has won the annual McKinsey Award for the most influential article published in the 2014 volume of the Harvard Business Review. He was awarded the prize for his article, "Profits without Prosperity" from the September 2014 issue. He is interviewed about the article here.

Last month the History Department at the University of Birmingham sponsored a workshop in honor of Francesca Carnevali, "Economic History as if People Mattered." The program is available here.

On C-Span's Book TV, we have a video of Sven Beckert discussing his book Empire of Cotton at the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies at the New School for Social Research. Beckert was introduced by Julia Ott of the New School (about 7 minutes in).

One can also see Julia Ott and Louis Hyman discussing the history of capitalism at the University of Virginia's Miller Center in January.

Friday, April 17, 2015

New UK Group: The Business History Network

A new group has recently been established in the UK called the Business History Network. According to the organization's website,
The Business History Networks brings together early-career researchers from all disciplines with an interest in business history. We want to create a network that helps increase the quality and impact of business history in the UK and build long-term collaborative relationships between the participants of our workshops. . . . We strongly invite researchers from other disciplines such as sociology, law, management, economics, and the humanities, whose research is on business history.
The group's initial activities are two workshops; the first was held in March; the second will take place on June 18, 2015. The program for both can be found here. Questions about the network can be addressed to Jasper Bittner, who is a doctoral student in Economic and Social History at the University of Oxford working on bankruptcy law in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe.
    The Business History Network is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and supported by the University of Oxford.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SEC Historical Society: Gallery on Corporate Governance

Detail from J.S. Pughe cartoon, Puck, v. 61 (1907), LoC
The latest in the on-line galleries hosted by the Securities and Exchange Commission Historical SocietyI focuses on corporate governance. In the words of the curators,
This Gallery traces the development of corporate governance regulation of publicly-traded companies in the United States at the federal level. It chronicles the fitful search for a golden mean between power and responsibility, and the quest for a balance of rules that would allow managers the flexibility and authority required to run a successful firm while ensuring that corporate owners had a say in how their businesses were run.
Digitized materials include cartoons, letters, legislation, pamphlets, and other relevant documents. For example, there are letters and essays from Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means, transcripts of congressional hearings, SEC commissioners' and congressional correspondence, SEC Minutes, and oral histories.
    The Gallery was prepared and built by Carla Rosati; it is funded by the support of the Center for Audit Quality.

Monday, April 13, 2015

New Journal: History of Retailing and Consumption

Although we don't usually highlight materials not freely available, a new journal in the field certainly merits a mention. Volume 1, no. 1 of the History of Retailing and Consumption is now available in print and online. The editors are Vicki Howard of Hartwick College and Jon Stobart of Manchester Metropolitan University. In their introduction, which is accessible to all, the editors write,

The purpose of the journal is to provide a central place for publication and reference for those interested in all aspects of the history of retailing and consumption. . . . We envision the journal as a place where different disciplinary perspectives and methodological approaches are brought together and traditional boundaries are crossed. 
The contents of the first issue, with abstracts of each article, are available on the journal's website.

Friday, April 10, 2015

WEHC Kyoto: Parallel Session Schedule Listed

The schedule of parallel sessions for the 2015 World Economic History Congress (WEHC) in Kyoto has now been posted. The nearly 200 sessions are listed according to their time slot and with the organizers' names. Later this month, the WEHC will post paper titles.
    Speakers at the plenary sessions are:
R. Bin Wong (University of California, Los Angeles)
Pranab Bardhan (University of California, Berkeley)
Abhijit Banerjee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Nicholas Crafts (University of Warwick)
Avner Greif (Stanford University)
    Many more details about the meeting can be found on the Congress website. Please note that on-line registration closes on June 30, 2015.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Program: “Human Trafficking in Early America”

"Views of Slavery," Library Company of Philadelphia (1836)
The McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania will host a conference on “Human Trafficking in Early America” on April 23-25, 2015. From the conference website:
In early America, human trafficking took many forms, engaging and displacing native, African and European populations in every decade and in every colony and state. Drawing upon a wave of new scholarship on Indian captivity, the middle passage, the domestic slave trade, child abduction and sex trafficking, this conference offers a timely opportunity to examine the cultures and shadow economies created by and elaborated around forced migration in North America and the Atlantic world before 1865.
 The program has now been posted; it includes a keynote address by Edward Baptist, entitled “Trafficking in People, Real or Derivative: The Second Slavery and Anglo-American Development.”

“Human Trafficking in Early America” is an interdisciplinary conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, and cosponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Department of History at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, Drew University.

For more information about the conference, or to register, please visit the conference website.

Monday, April 6, 2015

CFP: EHESS 40th Anniversary Workshop

Organizers have issued a call for papers for a one-day workshop in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). The meeting, which will take place on June 25, 2015, will focus on the theme "Causality in Economics and History." According to the call for papers:
The workshop will discuss works on the processes of causality, which mobilize both the counterfactual approach and other forms of causal inference. Presentation of empirical cases as well as theoretical reflections made in recent publications are welcome. The workshop will focus on discussing contrasting treatments of causality in two disciplines — History and Economics — which employ this notion in different ways.
James A. Robinson, David Florence Professor of Government at Harvard University, will open the discussion with a keynote lecture. Papers may be presented in either English or French. Six or seven slots for presentation are available for historians and economists. Special attention will be given to presentations focusing on the forms of causality and the models of reasoning employed in economics and in history. Each presentation will be discussed by a scholar.
    Please send a 1-2 page proposal for a paper in either French or English to the organizers, Jean Boutier ( and Alain Trannoy ( before April 20, 2015.
    The full call for papers can be found here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fellowship: Post-Doc in Business History at Free University of Brussels

A Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Business History is vacant at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM) of the Free University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles – ULB). The postdoctoral researcher will hold the title of Kurgan-van Hentenryk Postdoctoral Fellow in Business History. The Kurgan-van Hentenryk (KvH) Chair in Business History aims at advancing and diffusing research on the history of the knowledge economy. The fellowship is awarded for two years’ residence and research at SBS-EM, with a possible extension of a third year. The fellowship is open to scholars who, within the last three years, have received a Ph.D. in history, economics, or a discipline related to the field of business history.
    Please note that the applicant should not have been affiliated to a Belgian university more than 12 months within the last three years (1 October 2012 – 30 September 2015). The fellow is required to lead a business history research seminar under the direction of the academic coordinator of the KvH Chair. Finally, the fellow is expected to actively and widely disseminate the latest research findings in business history and to organize an annual Workshop in Business History. The successful candidate will normally be expected to have his or her residence and work place in Brussels, and to be an active member of the research community at the Free University of Brussels (ULB).
   For more information, please contact Kenneth Bertrams and visit the full call for candidates. The application deadline is May 31, 2015.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ed Balleisen Becomes Vice Provost at Duke

Longtime BHC member Edward Balleisen of Duke University has been named Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies there. Balleisen is director of the Kenan Institute of Ethics' Rethinking Regulation project and a leading participant in the Tobin Project, a national network of social scientists who examine pressing public policy dilemmas. According to Balleisen, his research "explore[s] the historical intersections among law, business, politics, and policy in the modern United States, with a growing focus on the origins, evolution, and impacts of the modern regulatory state. [It] increasingly involves collaboration with historians and other social scientists who study regulatory governance in industrialized and industrializing societies."
    A graduate of Princeton University with a Ph.D. in history from Yale University, Balleisen has taught at Duke since 1997. Within the BHC Balleisen has served as a Trustee and most recently as chair of the program committee; he is also the incoming director of the BHC's Doctoral Dissertation Colloquium.