Friday, May 29, 2015

CFP: Business History Conference 2016

The 2016 Business History Conference Annual Meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon, on March 31-April 2, 2016. The theme of the meeting will be "Reinterpretation." The Program Committee for 2016 will be Rowena Olegario (Chair), Peter Coclanis, Marcelo Bucheli, Julia Yongue, and Margaret Graham (BHC President). All sessions will take place at the Embassy Suites Portland-Downtown, located in the historic Multnomah Hotel building. The call for papers has now been posted.
    The theme of the 2016 Business History Conference meeting will be "Reinterpretation." The Program Committee encourages panels and individual papers that answer the call to "Reinterpretation," expansively interpreted. Topics that examine the forces shaping our future by reinterpreting research related to the Pacific Rim are but one important example of numerous “settled” or incomplete bodies of business history scholarship from which reinterpretation promises to generate fresh constructs and new insights. In keeping with longstanding BHC policy the Program Committee will give equal consideration to submissions not directly related to the conference theme. A fuller exposition of the conference theme can be found in the complete call for papers.
      The Program Committee will consider both individual papers and entire panels. Individual paper proposals should include a one-page (300 word) abstract and one-page curriculum vitae (CV). Panel proposals should include a cover letter stating the rationale for the panel and the name of its contact person; one-page (300 word) abstract and author’s CV for each paper; and a list of preferred panel chairs and commentators with contact information. To submit a proposal, click on the link Submit a Paper/Panel Proposal on the BHC 2016 meeting website.
     The deadline for receipt of all proposals is 1 October 2015.
     The BHC Doctoral Colloquium in Business History will once again be held in conjunction with the BHC annual meeting. This prestigious workshop, funded by Cambridge University Press, will take place in Portland on Wednesday, March 30, and Thursday, March 31. Typically limited to ten students, the colloquium is open to early stage doctoral candidates pursuing dissertation research within the broad field of business history, from any relevant discipline. Topics (see link for past examples) may range from the early modern era to the present, and explore societies across the globe.  Participants work intensively with a distinguished group of BHC-affiliated scholars (including at least two BHC officers), discussing dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and career trajectories.  Applications are due by 15 November 2015 via email to and should include: a statement of interest; CV; preliminary or final dissertation prospectus (10-15 pages); and a letter of support from your dissertation supervisor (or prospective supervisor). Questions about the colloquium should be sent to its director, Edward Balleisen. All participants receive a stipend that partially defrays travel costs to the annual meeting.  Applicants will receive notification of the selection committee’s decisions by 20 December 2015.
     For information about applying for the BHC's Krooss Dissertation Prize and the K. Austin Kerr Paper Prize, please see the full call for papers.
      General questions regarding the BHC’s 2016 annual meeting may be sent to Secretary-Treasurer Roger Horowitz.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 SHEAR Annual Meeting Program Available

The 37th annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) will take place from July 16 to 19, 2015, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The program is available online in two formats: as a PDF file and on a CrowdCompass website. The latter link allows one to find sessions by topic, including, for example, "Capitalism." Ten sessions appear under that heading, including a roundtable on "Capital, Space, and Culture: New Approaches to the Political Economy of the Early Republic." Other topics of interest include "Energy," "Labor," and "Maritime."
    The presidential address will be delivered by Ann Fabian of Rutgers University.
     For registration and other details, please see the SHEAR conference website.

Monday, May 25, 2015


The Twenty-Second Annual Omohundro Institute Conference will take place in Worcester, Massachusetts, on June 23–26, 2016. Panels and plenaries will be held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and additional events will take place at the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). The 2016 program committee, chaired by Steven C. Bullock (WPI), Paul J. Erickson (AAS), and Wim Klooster (Clark University),
welcomes proposals considering all aspects of early American history broadly conceived. Inspired by the area’s indigenous history and the city’s manufacturing past, proposals dealing with “Native American Transformations” and “Early America at Work” are particularly encouraged. Given the AAS’s commitment to digital projects and the Omohundro Institute’s Lapidus Initiative, proposals for workshops and poster sessions on digital tools, methods, and scholarly projects are also invited.
    The committee welcomes complete panels of two or three papers addressing a coherent theme or theoretical problem, including a panel chair and a commentator. Individual paper proposals will also be considered. The committee reserves the right to make changes in the overall configuration of panels.
    To encourage the widest possible participation, scholars may make only one appearance at the conference. Proposals must be received electronically no later than September 15, 2015.
    For additional information, including a link to the proposal system, please see the full call for papers.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Conference: “The Political Economy of Food”

The Business History Initiative at Harvard Business School is hosting a one-day conference on June 12, 2015: "The Political Economy of Food: Grown Locally and Consumed Globally." According to the website,
The conference will bring together scholars interested in the history of the food and agriculture industries. It is intended to help develop a new and innovative perspective on the role of food in the history of global capitalism. Central discussions will revolve around the impact of increasingly international markets for agricultural products on local practices of production and consumption, and vice versa. Speakers will present their recent research and comment on how their work fits into this evolving historiography.
The program has been posted on the conference website. Seating is limited; those interested in attending should contact Casey Lurtz:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

EBHS Program Updates Available

The 40th annual meeting of the Economic and Business History Society will take place next week (May 28-30) in La Crosse, Wisconsin. An updated version of the full program is now available on the EBHS website.
     The keynote speaker at the conference dinner will be Jeffrey Williamson, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, emeritus, Harvard University. His topic will be "Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality since 1774."
    Full information about the meeting can be found on the EBHS website.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Books of Interest in Paperback: Spring Edition

A list of recent and forthcoming titles of interest now issued in paperback:
Jennifer L. Anderson, Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America (Harvard University Press, April 2015 [2012])

Chris Armstrong, Moose Pastures and Mergers: The Ontario Securities Commission and the Regulation of Share Markets in Canada, 1940-1980 (University of Toronto Press, February 2015 [2001])

Susan Porter Benson, Household Accounts: Working-Class Family Economies in the Interwar United States (Cornell University Press, April 2015 [2007])

Angus Burgin, The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression (Harvard University Press, April 2015 [2012])

W. Bernard Carlson: Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age ((Princeton University Press, April 2015 [2013])

Donald Creighton, The Empire of the St. Lawrence: A Study in Commerce and Politics (University of Toronto Press, February 2015 [1937; 1956])

Paloma Fernández Pérez and Andrea Colli, eds., The Endurance of Family Businesses: A Global Overview (Cambridge University Press, January 2015 [2013])

Aldo Musacchio, Experiments in Financial Democracy: Corporate Governance and Financial Development in Brazil, 1882–1950 (Cambridge University Press, March 2015 [2009])

Margaret Ellen Newell, From Dependency to Independence: Economic Revolution in Colonial New England (Cornell University Press, April 2015 [1998])

David E. Nye, America's Assembly Line (MIT Press, January 2015 [2013])

Richard C. Overton, Gulf to Rockies: The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver—Colorado and Southern Railways, 1861-1898 (University of Texas Press, January 2015 [1953])

Keith Roberts, The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets  (Columbia Business School Publishing, February 2015 [2011])

Joshua D. Wolff, Western Union and the Creation of the American Corporate Order, 1845-1893
(Cambridge University Press, January 2015 [2013])

Friday, May 15, 2015

Web Resource: Mathew Carey Account Books Database

Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society
The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) in Worcester, Massachusetts, recently announced the creation of  a database for navigating the Mathew Carey account books. Carey (1760-1839), publisher, economist, and humanitarian, was born in Dublin, Ireland. He came to America in 1784 after involvement in Irish revolutionary activities and took up his trade as a printer, His firm was a leader in American printing and publishing from 1795 to 1835. Carey was an active proponent of the protective tariff, as well as an ardent champion of oppressed minorities in Europe.
    According to the AAS blog, "Past Is Present," "the database contains over 12,000 names, most of which refer to people, but also contain references to ships, firms, and institutions such as schools." This blog post and an earlier one provide examples and information on the creation of the database. For complete instructions on the use of the Carey database, please visit the AAS database website.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Web Resource: England's Immigrants, 1330-1550

Seal of Benedict Zakarie, Italian merchant living in London, 1360 (TNA E 43/744)"England's Immigrants, 1330-1550" is a large new searchable database of over 64,000 resident aliens living in England during those years, containing information on names, nationalities, places of residence and origin, occupation and status.
 According to the website:
it is evident from various sources that a remarkably diverse range of immigrants entered England during the later Middle Ages, from other parts of the British Isles, from the near-continent, and from other, more distant locations. It is also clear that these people were drawn from a far broader variety of social and economic backgrounds than just the upper echelons on which modern research has concentrated.
Researchers consulted "alien subsidy" records, license rolls, records of oaths of fealty, and letters of protection and denization, among other sources, to compile the database. A more thorough explanation of the sources used is provided on the website. Researchers have also compiled more extensive case studies for a few individuals and families when evidence was available. The site also contains a very detailed help section explaining the search parameters and outcomes.
     The project is managed by the University of York, in collaboration with The National Archives and the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Personnel working on the project are listed here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Seminar Series: Organizational History

A group of European scholars has established an ESRC Seminar Series on Organizational History, with a home base at Aston Business School. The organizing team consists of Stephanie Decker (Aston Business School), Michael Rowlinson (Queen Mary University London), and John Hassard (Manchester Business School). Copenhagen Business School is also a sponsor. According to the website,
The ESRC-sponsored seminar series provides a platform for international research on historical analysis of organizations, heritage and reflective societies. All events revolve around three interlinked themes: archiving and archival research as resources for organizational analysis, organizational remembering, and emerging methodologies that challenge organizational histories. Leading international scholars will discuss current research initiatives. . . . During these one day events there will be sufficient time to discuss ongoing research with leading scholars and journal editors from different disciplines.
The website, hosted by Aston, is intended to become a hub for scholars who work in the area of organizational history. The first event in the seminar series, “Managing the Past: The Role of Organizational Archives” took place at Aston Business School in March 2015; the next seminar will take place at Queen Mary University London on July 15. The list of upcoming seminars can be found here.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Over the Counter: Issue No. 15

The National History Center maintains a video library of events that it has sponsored. These include Congressional briefings and Washington Seminars.

Adam Rothman, a historian of slavery at Georgetown University, and Matt Burdumy, a computer science major at GU, joined forces in Rothman’s History of the Atlantic World class to map more than 35,000 slaving voyages from 1500 to 1870. The result is the "Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Vizualization."

CNN posted an article on "30 Years of .Com," featuring a great image of an early Microsoft website and also quoting historian Andrew Russell.

Benjamin Carp reviews (positively) "Bastard Out of Nevis," Lin-Manuel Miranda's play about Alexander Hamilton, for The Junto.The play is moving to Broadway this summer.

The Illustration Archive at Cardiff University attempts to make available and fully searchable over a million illustrations from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century works of literature, philosophy, history and geography that are in the British Library’s collection and were scanned by Microsoft.

In a recent issue of the New Left Review, Franco Moretti and Dominique Pestre use quantitative linguistic analysis to track changes in outlook at the World Bank.

Gary Hoover, the entrepreneur behind Hoovers on-line, has a long essay on "The Three Greatest American Companies of All Time" (which he says are the Pennsylvania Railroad, General Motors, and IBM).

"Considering Women in the Early Modern Low Countries" was a conference held in Antwerp in April. The program, which includes a session on "Marriage, Money, and Work," and abstracts are available on-line.

Richard S. Dunn published A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia (Harvard University Press) last year; the book now has an accompanying website, which provides a few of the documents Dunn found during his research.

Volume 7 of H-France's Salon is devoted to a consideration of Thomas Piketty's Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press).:

The program for the 10th Appalachian Spring Conference in World History and Economics, held each year at Appalachian State University, is posted on-line; many of the papers are available. The theme of the conference was "The History and Nature of Capitalism."

Friday, May 8, 2015

Web Resource: Barclays Group Archives

Reproduced from historylondon
The Barclays Group Archives (BGA) are located in Manchester, UK. The company has recently created a new website for the Archives to aid researchers. According to the website,
The archives cover 1.5 miles of shelving and are held in secure, environmentally-controlled strong rooms. Our oldest artefact dates back to 1567 and new material is added every day. Every precious bit of history is listed on a searchable database. . . . The records have come from Barclays as we know it today, and from the various banks and building societies that merged to become part of the Barclays Group. 
The website provides digital access to a great deal of information, though the Archives is so large that the digitized materials represent only a tiny fraction. Visitors to the site will find a selection of annual reports, founding bank histories, advertisements, objects, and "stories" highlighting various aspects of Barclays' history.
     At the physical Archives in Manchester, detailed database catalogues are available to consult in person, and specific catalogues may be generated on request. BGA has become a contributor to The Archives Hub, and intends to add collection-level descriptions, suitably indexed, to supplement its own detailed database catalogues and indexes. A detailed discussion of the Archives contents written by the archivist, Nicholas Webb, can be found on the Archives Hub blog.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

CHORD Workshop: “Rural Retailing and Distribution in History”

The next CHORD (Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution) Workshop will be held on May 13, 2015, at the University of Wolverhampton. The theme for the meeting is "Rural Retailing and Distribution in History." The program and paper abstracts are now available on the Workshop website. Presenters include Douglas McCalla, Andrew Popp, and Jon Sobart.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Digital Resource: Foreign Relations of the United States

In 2009 the Office of the Historian embarked on a multi-year program to digitize the entire Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series and post these for public access at This series, the official documentary record of U.S. foreign policy, dates back to 1861 and consists of over 500 volumes and hundreds of thousands of annotated primary sources from the National Archives, presidential libraries, and agency records. To date, the digitization initiative has resulted in the publication of nearly 250 volumes – or half of the entire back catalog – of the Foreign Relations series. Until this spring, the volumes were released silently, being added to the website as they were completed. These volumes are also available as e-books without charge from the FRUS website.
     The most recent update includes twenty volumes covering 1948-1951, providing insight into the early Cold War years, including the construction of the national security state. Future releases will be announced as volumes are completed; a section of the website details the status of the series digitization project.
       Many users will be aware that a major portion of FRUS has been available on-line as page images for some years via the University of Wisconsin Madison Digital Collections Center. For the Office of the Historian project, the Madison Center has provided the scanned images of these volumes, which the Office converted into high-quality text. When one accesses a page on the State Department FRUS website, one sees it as a highly readable and accurate webpage; a link to an image of the page is also provided.
        For more information about the plans and progress of the Office of the Historian's FRUS digitization, please see the official announcement on the HistoryAtState blog.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Web Resource: "Leading Ladies in the World of Seeds"

A recent two-part post (here and here) from the Biodiversity Library blog features the role of women in the "world of seeds." According to the site, "Unlike other businesses such as banking or manufacturing, the flower and seed industry, with a strong connection to the home, was considered a more suitable occupation for women in the nineteenth century." The heavily illustrated articles detail the careers of well-known "seed women" such as Ella Barnes and Carrie Lippincott. In addition to the information in the posts, the Library provides links to many catalogs and other materials, both in its own holdings and in those of other repositories. Those interested in this topic might also want to look at the "Mail Order Gardens" on-line exhibit from Cornell University's Mann Library, featured in part two of the Biodiversity Library post.
     The Biodiversity Heritage Library is a consortium of major natural history, botanical, and research libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the literature of biodiversity held in their collections.