Wednesday, December 30, 2015

CFP: “Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Transnational Perspective”

D.G. Yuengling & Son's Eagle Brewery in Pottsville, Pa. On June 16-17, 2016, the German Historical Institute will sponsor a workshop on "Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Transnational Comparative Perspective, 18th Century-Today." The workshop seeks to examine these key questions and to link research on immigrants from diverse backgrounds to the results of the German Historical Institute's multi-year project, Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present. According to the organizers (Hartmut Berghoff, Jessica Csoma, Bryan Hart, Kelly McCullough, Atiba Pertilla, Benjamin Schwantes, and Uwe Spiekermann),
The workshop is conducted on the occasion of the completion of the project and seeks to contextualize its main findings. [The "Immigrant Entrepreneurship" website provides a very large number of biographies, images, and analytical essays, accompanied by teaching tools, bibliographies, and other resources; new entries appear regularly.] Bringing together scholars from a variety of fields, the workshop aims to explore patterns and transformations in the interplay between immigration and economic innovation; to investigate how ethnicity, gender, space and time intersect in the economic sphere; and to look at similarities and differences in experiences within and between various immigrant groups. We hope to stimulate discussion on these important topics and provide a forum for comparison by looking at African, Asian, European, and Latino diasporas in the United States.
The workshop at the GHI will bring together junior and senior scholars. The discussions will be based on pre-circulated papers submitted four weeks in advance. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the German Historical Institute. Those interested should send a short abstract of no more than 400 words and a brief CV in one file by February 15, 2016, to Jessica Csoma. For a more detailed discussion of the aims of the Workshop, please see the full call for papers.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Canadian Business History Association Launched

Building on earlier efforts to stimulate business history in Canada, a small group of historians, former archivists, and business people began working last summer to create a new business history organization, the Canadian Business History Association – l’association Canadiennes pour l’histories des affaires (CBHA/ACHA). The organization is now open for membership.
    The group shares the conviction that the business heritage is an integral part of Canadian history and that this heritage cannot be preserved without a strong academic/ business partnership. The CBHA/ACHA mission is to establish a not-for-profit association that provides a forum for archivists, historians, managers, and management scholars to further the historical study of Canadian business and how that history relates to other countries. According to the group's website,
The CBHA/ACHA is dedicated to the pursuit of Canadian business history and its role both domestically and in world business history. Our specific aims include encouraging more studies of enterprise by Canadians and in Canada, helping build and maintain well-structured and open business archives, providing those who study business history a forum for discussing their research with those who practice business, encouraging research projects on relevant subjects and providing funding for such research, and in general encouraging the study of business history in Canada.
Interested readers can find out more about membership and the CBHA/ACHA's goals on the organization's website.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas for Business Historians

Christmas Eve, and time for another small gift from "The Exchange": more sources positioning the holiday in business and historical terms (the first list can be found here):
"Christmas Season Starts Earlier Every Year" (actually not):
"Saving Santa's Mail Bag" (the Post Office and Letters to Santa)
"A Brief History of the Holiday Card" (Ellen Brown on JStor Daily) and also on The Takeaway (audio interview)
"19th Century Christmas Cards Gain New Admirers" (AAS, on Louis Prang)
"Louis Prang, Father of the Christmas Card" (NYHS)
Alison Barnes on "The First Christmas Tree" (History Today)
Bernd Brunner on "Inventing the Christmas Tree"
Dickens' expenses for printing "A Christmas Carol"
A Christmas Carol (modern-day economics edition) (The Guardian
Santa Claus and Coca Cola 
Santa Claus and Thomas Nast 
"When Santa Was a Bank," from Stephen Mihm
12 Days of Christmas Costs, 2015 (illustrated, from PNC)
Brief history of Christmas tree lights (Wired)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CFP: “Histories of Capitalism v.2.0”

Cornell's History of Capitalism Initiative is sponsoring a second conference on the "Histories of Capitalism" on September 29-October 1, 2016. Whereas the first meeting focused on American capitalism, the organizers hope that this event will include several panels and papers that incorporate non-U.S., regional, transnational, or global histories. The call for papers states:
Building on the success of that conference and on developments in this rapidly growing field, we invite proposals for panels that continue to illustrate the diversity of the histories of capitalism(s) through a variety of perspectives, including intellectual, legal, gender, environmental history, as well as the history of science and technology.
    Plenary Speakers include Jedidiah Purdy (Duke); Marcus Rediker (Pittsburgh); Emma Rothschild (Harvard University); and Juliet Walker (University of Texas-Austin).
    Papers and panels may be submitted by scholars at any stage of their careers; the deadline is March 1, 2016. Please see the conference homepage for submission instructions and a fuller description of possible topics.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Seminar: ICH, “Capital as a Constitutional Issue”

The Institute for Constitutional History has announced a seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty: "Capital as a Constitutional Issue: Land and Money, 1776-1900." Instructors will be Christine Desan, the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the author of Making Money:  Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism, and Elizabeth Blackmar, professor of history at Columbia University. Her scholarship focuses on the history of property relations in the United States; her books include Manhattan for Rent, 1785-1850 and The Park and the People: A History of Central Park, co-authored with Roy Rosenzweig.
    According to the announcement, the seminar will
focus in particular on land and money, critical to state formation and capitalist development in the U.S. from the Revolutionary era to the Gilded Age. The contests to define or control each expose competing sovereignties (native American, imperial, settler; state and federal) before and long after ratification of the Constitution. Those contests have also informed the development of political ideologies, party formation, and modes of constitutional interpretation, as well as the architecture of governmental authority. The seminar will examine classic Constitutional cases . . . in relation to underlying political and economic debates over the meaning of territorial and jurisdictional sovereignty; over the powers of Congress, the Presidency and state legislatures to govern money and banking; and over the legitimacy of state actions to set the terms for the accumulation and/or redistribution of wealth.
The seminar will meet at the New-York Historical Society on Friday afternoons, 1:00-4:00 p.m., March 18, April 1, 15, and 29.
     The seminar is designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law, and related disciplines. All participants will be expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in seminar discussions.  Space is limited; applicants should send a copy of their c.v. and a short statement on how this seminar will be useful to them in their research, teaching, or professional development. Materials will be accepted only by email at until January 15, 2016. For further information, please contact Maeva Marcus at (202) 994-6562 or send an email to Please also see the full seminar announcement.

Friday, December 18, 2015

CFP: “Corporations and Authoritarian Regimes in Latin America”

On September 12-13, 2016, the Georg-August University Göttingen will host a conference on "Corporations and Authoritarian Regimes in Latin America." The conveners are Hartmut Berghoff (Georg-August University Göttingen), Marcelo Bucheli (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Manfred Grieger (Corporate History Department, Volkswagen AG). The organizers explain:
    Historical research has dedicated considerable energy to the interplay between the business community and the Nazi dictatorship. Meanwhile, there is a large number of very detailed case studies available from Alusuisse to Volkswagen or from Deutsche Bank to General Motors demonstrating the close but often ambivalent relationship between political power and capitalist corporations. Between the 1960s and 1980s most Latin American countries were ruled by military regimes that often modeled themselves after the European Fascist regimes. A large number of works (particularly those written during the rule of the military regimes) assumed a close relationship between business interests and the dictators. As has happened to the studies on Nazi Germany, we believe that with the hindsight of time between the fall of the Latin American military regimes and the availability of previously uncovered primary sources the relationship between the business community and the dictators needs to be revisited.
    This conference invites new interpretations on the relationship between business and the Latin American military dictatorships that shed new light on the various forms of entanglement between business and dictatorial regimes from joined or opposing interests, from close collaboration to ambivalent relationships or even resistance. What role did businesses play in the ascent to power of the dictatorships? How did they change the general climate of business? And how far did they change the rules and regulations? Human rights issues are also to be addressed, as well as infrastructure projects, as some juntas aimed at accelerating the development of their countries with the help of multinational corporations. We also invite studies on corruption, collusion, and revolving doors between dictatorships and businesses. The conference will consider multinational and domestic corporations including state-owned companies.
    The two-day workshop seeks to bring together junior and senior scholars from the fields of business history, Latin American history, political science, sociology, and related fields. The workshop will be conducted in English. The organizers will cover travel and accommodation expenses for presenters.
    Please submit paper proposals of no more than 300 words and a short bio in one document to Mrs. Christel Schikora at by February 8, 2016.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Call for Panel Proposals: “The Gendered Business of Capitalism” at the Berks

"Native New Yorker," by Pura Cruz
The Business History Conference Liaison Committee seeks to sponsor a panel for the 2017 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Gender, and Sexualities, which will take place on June 1-4 at Hofstra University in New York. For the first time, the conference is creating a special track on “Gender and Capitalism.” We invite BHC members to propose original research papers for a panel on “The Gendered Business of Capitalism.” We will select from the submissions to form at least one complete BHC-sponsored panel.    
     Please send a 250-word proposal and 1-page CV to Vicki Howard ( and Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor ( by January 15, 2016, for consideration.

Monday, December 14, 2015

EHS 2016 Program Available

The 2016 Economic History Society (EHS) conference will be held on April 1-3 at Robinson College, University of Cambridge. The program for the meeting is now available on-line. The 2016 Tawney lecturer is Avner Offer of the University of Oxford, who will speak on "The Market Turn: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism."
    Registration is also open. For additional details and updates, please see the EHS meeting website.

Friday, December 11, 2015

OAH 2016 Registration Now Open

The 2016 Organization of American Historians (OAH) annual meeting will take place in Providence, Rhode Island, on April 7-10. The theme for the meeting is "On Leadership." Registration is now open and will be available on-line until April 1, 2016. On-site registration will be available after April 1, but with an accompanying surcharge. Questions not addressed by the meeting website can be addressed to or call 812-855-7311.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CFP: “Law in the History of Capitalism”

On June 27-28, 2016, the American Bar Foundation and the University of Chicago will host a conference on "Law in the History of Capitalism." According to the organizers,
In recent years, there has been an explosion of new scholarship on the historical relationship between law and capitalism. . . . This infusion of interdisciplinary scholarship creates an opportunity for new work that puts law, legal institutions, and legal processes at the center of capitalist transformations.
   The aim of this conference is to provide junior scholars with a venue in which to share their previously unpublished research and to connect with senior scholars in the field. We thus invite junior scholars to submit proposals that offer original analyses of law in the history of capitalism.  
Proposals may be submitted on-line at the conference website; the deadline for submissions is February 15, 2016. Organizers are Jane Dailey, Ajay Mehrotra, Christopher Schmidt, and Victoria Saker Woeste. Questions may be directed to Erin Watt at

Monday, December 7, 2015

Over the Counter: Issue No. 21

The Colonial North America Project at Harvard University "will make available to the world digitized images of all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library that relate to 17th and 18th century North America."

From the Institute for New Economic Thinking, an interview with Lance Davis: "Do Economists Understand the Economy?"

"Ben Franklin's World" features a podcast interview with Max Edling, author of A Hercules in the Cradle: War, Money, and the American State, 1783-1867 (University of Chicago Press, 2014).

The New Yorker online highlighted a story on Bell Labs from a 1931 issue: "Bell Labs: The Invention Factory."

Naomi Lamoreaux has posted her recent working paper, "Beyond the Old and the New: Economic History in the United States"; several others are linked from her faculty homepage

The National Museum of American History blog has an illustrated article on shopping board games.

Slate has an article on the Lincoln Highway, and its role as a precursor to the interstate highway system of today.

Yale University's Beinecke Library has announced the digitization of the diary of Thomas Thistlewood, Jamaican planter and slaveholder.

The Atlantic has an essay on "How Railway History Shaped Internet History."

And in a photoessay that combines the Beinecke Library and The Atlantic, the latter has reproduced over two dozen high-resolution images from the Beinecke's Andrew J. Russell / Yale Collection of Western Americana, focusing on Russell's documentation of the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad

The Association pour l'histoire des chemins de fer holds a conference on December 8, 2015, on "20 Years Under the Channel, and Beyond : Capital and Governance of Major Infrastructure Projects"; the program is available here.

John Turner of Queen's University Belfast has won the BAC's 2015 Wadsworth Prize for his book Banking in Crisis: The Rise and Fall of British Banking Stability, 1800 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

The Centre du patrimoine in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, has recently launched a digitized Voyageur Contracts Database. The database includes data from approximately 35,900 fur trade contracts signed in front of Montreal notaries between 1714 and 1830.

On his blog, "Taming the American Idol," Lee Vinsel posted "95 Theses on Innovation," arguing for the importance of maintenance. See also the spring conference on the topic announced at Stevens Institute of Technology.

New website of interest: "Revolutionary Players," from History West Midlands. The site explores the lives of "the men and women whose ideas, innovations, industry and achievement shaped the Industrial Revolution in the English Midlands and the world beyond from 1700 to 1830."

The Houghton Library Blog published an interesting illustrated article on frost fairs on the Thames, when Londoners would take to the frozen river for travel, trade and amusement; the essay focuses specifically on "Printers on Ice."

Friday, December 4, 2015

New Blog: Chinese Economic History

Detail from the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) painting “Along the River During the Qingming Festival"
A new blog has been established on the topic of Chinese economic history. According to the home page, seeks to provide a bridge between these two isolated academic worlds – that of Chinese economic historians in the Far East, and economists in the West. Everything is conducted in English, and all periods of Chinese history are included. We cover topics of interest, provide commentary and discussion on research, and conduct interviews with prominent Chinese economic historians. 
The site is brand new, but it already contains a useful set of video interviews with economic historians from the World Economic History Congress in Kyoto.
    The site's organizer is Ronald A. Edwards of Tamkang University.

Hat tip to Andrew Smith at The Past Speaks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Business History on HNN

The History News Network routinely publishes essays by historians connecting historical scholarship with current events. In recent weeks, several of these essays have been written by members of the business history community:
Bruce E. Baker, "This Historian Has Some Advice for Bernie"
Baker is the co-author, with Barbara Hahn, of the just-published The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New Orleans (Oxford University Press).

Eric Rauchway, "How Hofstadter and Schlesinger Misled Us About FDR"
Rauchway is the author of The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace (Basic Books, October 2015).

Robert E. Wright, "An Open Letter to the Harvard Business School Dean Who Gave Historians an Assignment"
Wright is the author, most recently, of Little Business on the Prairie: Entrepreneurship, Prosperity, and Challenge in South Dakota (Center for Western Studies, April 2015)