Monday, February 27, 2017

Program: APEBH 2017 Meeting

The 2017 Asia Pacific Economic and Business History (APEBH) Conference was recently held at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. The theme of the meeting was "Current Trends in Economic and Business History Research." The program is available online.
     The Noel Butlin Lecture, entitled "Theorizing in Business History," was given by Abe de Jong, professor of corporate finance and corporate governance at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The meeting also featured a plenary session, "Current Trends and Future Directions for Economic History in Australia," chaired by Simon Ville.
    The APEBH conference is organized by the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand (EHSANZ).

Friday, February 24, 2017

Over the Counter: Issue No. 33

The "Roads to Modernity" blog recently featured an essay on the Company of Merchants Trading to Africa.

In its "50 Things That Made the Modern Economy" series, BBC News posted an essay on the Knights Templar and their banking role. (The whole series can be accessed here.)

H-Diplo has posted a roundtable review of Marc-William Palen's book, The "Conspiracy" of Free Trade (Cambridge University Press, 2016), with an author's response. 

NUCLEUS (The Nuclear and Caithness Archive) has opened to the public in a new facility in Scotland. It will bring together nuclear records from all over the United Kingdom, a project expected to take at least five years.

The National Museum of American History has launched a a three-year project, the American Brewing Industry Initiative, to collect, document, and preserve the history of brewing, craft brewers, and the beer industry – with the goal to explore how beer and beer history connect to larger themes in American history. They have recently hired historian Theresa McCulla to head up the program.

Readara recently featured an audio interview with Marc Levinson, who discusses his book, The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, which has been re-issued in a new edition by Princeton University Press.

The Race and Capitalism Project, based at the University of Chicago, devotes a section of its website to bibliography and research reviews.

Joel Mokyr has written an essay for Aeon: "How Europe became so rich."

Especially for French readers, but useful for all: the Bibliothèque patrimoniale numérique of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers has digitized a large number of its holdings and placed them online.

The blog Gridium has an interview (both audio and transcript) with Lee Vinsel, "When maintenance is more important than innovation."

The Indiana State Library has digitized the full texts of a large number of trade catalogs.

With regret, we report the death of business historian Peter Payne, who passed away on January 10, 2017. Obituaries by his colleagues can be found here.

An interesting article from blogger The Geek in 9F on British messenger boys and the impact of the telephone.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Junto Series: “Fashion as History in Early American Life“

Dorothy Quincy (Mrs. John Hancock) | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston c1772 by John Singleton Copley
The early Americanist blog "The Junto"  has been running a roundtable on colonial couture, "fashion as history in early American life." Some of the posts have a more direct business connection than others, but all provide interesting insights. The introductory post also includes a bibliography and list of relevant websites, as do many of the essays. The list of posts:
Sara Georgini, "Roundtable: Colonial Couture"
Charmaine A. Nelson, "Cash’s Bundle: Fugitive Slave Advertisements, Clothing, and Self-Care"
Ben Marsh, "Making American Pompoms Great Again"
William Howard Carter, "New York's Original Fashion Industry"
Joanna M. Gohmann, "Ambassador in a Hat: The Sartorial Power of Benjamin Franklin’s Fur Cap"
Kimberly Alexander, "Fashioning the 17th Century in Boston: John and Hannah Leverett"
Laura E, Johnson, "Of Records and Rituals: Native Americans and the Textile Trade"
Zara Anishanslin, "Crafting Protest, Fashioning Politics: DIY Lessons from the American Revolution"
Readers can also find the full list collected on the Junto website.

Monday, February 20, 2017

New in Paperback: Winter Edition

A selection of new and forthcoming paperback titles of interest, January-March, 2017:
Sally Denton, The Profiteers: Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World (Simon and Schuster, February 2017 [2016])

Paolo Di Martino, Andrew Popp, and Peter Scott, eds., People, Places and Business Cultures: Essays in Honour of Francesca Carnevali (Boydell & Brewer, March 2017 [pb. original])

Allen Dieterich-Ward, Beyond Rust: Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Fate of Industrial America (University of Pennsylvania Press, March 2017 [2015])

Timothy Gloege, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (University of North Carolina Press, February 2017 [2015])

Philip T. Hoffman, Why Did Europe Conquer the World? (Princeton University Press, February 2017 [2015])

Meg Jacobs, Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s (Hill and Wang, March 2017[2016])

Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Harvard University Press, March 2017 [2013])

Robert Jones, Bread upon the Waters: The St. Petersburg Grain Trade and the Russian Economy, 1703–1811 (University of Pittsburgh Press, March 2017 [2013])

Devin Leonard, Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service (Grove Atlantic, February 2017 [2016])

Thomas C. Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era (Princeton University Press, January 2017 [2016])

Mary Lindemann, The Merchant Republics: Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Hamburg, 1648–1790 (Cambridge University Press, February 2017 [2014])

Henry Petroski, The Road Taken: The History and Future of America's Infrastructure (Bloomsbury Publishing, February 2017 [2016])

Rebecca L. Spang, Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (Harvard University Press, February 2017 [2015])

Jon Stobart, Sugar and Spice: Grocers and Groceries in Provincial England, 1650-1830 (Oxford University Press, January 2017 [2013])

David Vogel, Kindred Strangers: The Uneasy Relationship between Politics and Business in America (Princeton University Press, March 2017 [1996])

Friday, February 17, 2017

CFP: 12th Sound Economic History Workshop

The 12th Sound Economic History Workshop will be held in in Jyväskylä, Finland, on September 7-8, 2017, hosted by the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä. The keynote speakers for the meeting will be Jane Humphries (University of Oxford) and Jari Ojala (University of Jyväskylä).
     According to the organizers:
The main aim of the Sound Workshop is to gather young researchers in a friendly and non-imposing environment where they can present their research and receive constructive criticism from their peers and leading economic historians. Another aim of the workshop is to demonstrate the breadth of (especially Nordic) Economic History as an academic discipline, so there is no theme to the workshop, and submissions are encouraged from any sub-field of economic and social history.
Nordic scholars and scholars based in a Nordic country will be given preference, but others are warmly welcome to apply. The workshop organizers particularly encourage presentations by Ph.D. students and post-docs; they are also encouraged to participate even if they do not wish to present paper. The workshop is a two-day event, and accepted speakers are strongly encouraged to participate on both days (not just on the day they present).
     There will be no registration fee for this workshop. Attendees will receive lunch on Thursday and Friday, a workshop dinner on Thursday evening, as well as refreshments during the workshop. Participants must cover their own hotel and travel costs. Prospective speakers should submit a one-page abstract and a short CV to Miikka Voutilainen ( no later than May 15, 2017. For more information please visit the Sound Economic History Workshop website.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Free Ticket Opportunity and More Sites of Interest for BHC 2017 Attendees

More information for those of you planning to attend the BHC meeting in Denver next month:
Maynard Dixon, "Wide Lands of the Navajo," 1945; Denver Art Museum. History Colorado Center (HCC) features innovative, interactive exhibits in a strikingly beautiful new structure. A short walk from the Embassy Suites conference hotel, the HCC is offering twenty free admission tickets in addition to a $2.00 discount to all other BHC attendees. If you would like one of the free admission tickets, please contact Pam Laird, 303/315-1779, or email: pamela.laird@ucdenver. edu. All other BHC attendees who bring their BHC badges to the museum will receive the discount.
     Current and coming exhibitions include:
For a host of other sites of interest in Denver, please see the "Denver Activities" link on the meeting website.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Symposium: “Managing Communist Enterprise”

A symposium entitled “Managing Communist Enterprise: Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, 1945-1970” will take place at Rutgers University, Camden, on April 21, 2017, from 12 to 2:00 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge of Armitage Hall. According to the organizers:
The business history of communist eastern and central Europe has not yet received the attention that it deserves. This symposium is organized around a significant new paper by Phil Scranton, entitled “Managing Communist Enterprise: Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, 1945-1970,” that itself emerges from a major project being undertaken by Professor Scranton and Professor Patrick Fridenson to examine the evolution of global business practices in the second half of the twentieth century. Based in extensive research in previously unused archives and sources, the paper uncovers the fascinating and often surprising story of management in three key European economies, essentially opening up a hitherto neglected field of study in business history. 
Professor Scranton will briefly present the paper, followed by three invited commentaries, from Pal Germuska (EUI), Natalya Vinokurova (Wharton), and Lee Vinsel (Stevens Institute of Technology). Following a response from Professor Scranton, the final hour of the event will be reserved for audience discussion. The lead paper and all three commentaries will subsequently be published in Enterprise and Society: The International Journal of Business History.
      Everyone intending to attend is strongly encouraged to download and read the lead paper in advance. Please note that in order to access the PDF of this unpublished paper, readers will first need to log in to the BHC website with their BHC login credentials.
     All are welcome. The event is free and registration is not required, though it would be appreciated if notices of intent to attend could be sent to Andrew Popp at All inquiries should be addressed to the same address.
     The symposium is presented with the support of Rutgers University, Camden, and the Business History Conference.

Friday, February 10, 2017

CFP: Management and Business History Track at 2017 BAM Conference

A reminder that submissions remain open for the Management and Business History Track of the British Academy of Management (BAM) Conference. BAM 2017 will be held at the University of Warwick in the UK on September 5-7. According to track co-chair Kevin Tennent, "We are now in our seventh successful year of this track's operation at the UK's foremost management studies conference. We are now also expanding into a Special Interest Group." The Management and Business History Track summary states:
The 2017 conference theme calls for management scholars to re-engage with social science disciplines. This provides an excellent opportunity for management historians to consider the role that history can play in influencing management knowledge and practice, as well as contributing to wider theory in the disciplines of economics, strategy, accounting, finance, law and sociology.
Please visit for more information, including the call for papers and paper submission guidelines. Fully developed papers (5-7,000 words), work in progress developmental papers (1,000-2,000 words), and workshop proposals comprised of interactive activities or other forms of discussion are accepted. Submissions are due by February 28, 2017
     Questions should be addressed to Kevin Tennent at York Management School.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Grad Student CFP: “Before the City/Beyond the City: Capitalism in the Countryside”

The Harvard Graduate Conference on the History of Capitalism invites graduate students to submit proposals addressing this year’s theme: "Before the City / Beyond the City: Capitalism in the Countryside." The conference will be held on October 19-20, 2017, at Harvard University. The call for papers states:
In a world that continues to be mostly ocean, countryside, forest, and desert and with nearly half the world’s population still living and laboring in such locations, we seek to decenter the city and metropole and problematize progress narratives that render capitalist and urban formations inevitable. Proceeding outward from any world region, we hope to tackle a number of theoretical, historiographical, and methodological questions ranging from the origins of a capitalist world-system in the sixteenth century, to the relationship between slavery and capitalism, to the politics of development in the twenty-first century. These questions will touch on the changing ways in which people relate to land, water, and other materials and the claims they make on them; the power relationships that govern those claims; how life is imagined and sustained, how livelihoods are made and unmade, and how belonging is constructed and contested. 
Accepted papers will be grouped for presentation within three or four panels each composed of graduate students and faculty commentators from Harvard and elsewhere. The organizers invite graduate students to submit a 300-word proposal and one-page c.v. (in Word or PDF format) to by March 1, 2017. It is anticipated that reasonable travel and lodging expenses can be reimbursed.
    Please check the Study of Capitalism website for the full call for papers and a more detailed discussion of conference goals. As the date approaches, additional information will be posted about the conference at The Twitter hashtag is #CapCon2017.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Of Interest for BHC Denver Attendees: Telecommunications History Group

"The Lineman, a Character Study," Allen True, Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company Building, Denver, Colorado (Photo by Marcia Ward.)
Folks planning to attend the upcoming BHC meeting in Denver, Colorado, should be aware of  opportunities offered by the Telecommunications History Group (THG), a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting a broad humanistic understanding of telecommunications in history. The group holds an extensive archive in its Denver headquarters of photographs, telephone directories, and historic documents related to the history of telecommunications, especially in the West.
    The facility, located at 1425 Champa, only a few blocks from the BHC conference hotel, will be available on Thursday, March 30, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., especially for BHC attendees. Those interested in visiting the THG will need an appointment to enter the building. For information and an appointment, please contact Jody Georgeson, Archivist, and Lisa Berquist, THG Director, at An overview of the THG's collections is available on the group's website.
    Also well worth visiting, and even closer to the conference hotel, stands the 1929 Bell Palace, the last of the grand Bell Palaces, at 931 14th Street. For a virtual tour of this beautiful structure, including some of its remarkable Allen Tupper True Art Deco homages to technological glories, see the THG web exhibit. Access to the building is restricted, but visitors can enjoy many of True’s murals in the entrance area and in the main lobby during business hours.

Friday, February 3, 2017

CFP: 2018 European Social Science History Conference

Belfast City HallThe 2018 European Social Science History Conference will be held at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 4-7. The ESSHC is one of the largest congresses for the historical sciences in the world; papers and sessions are therefore organized in many networks covering specific topics. The Economic History Network has announced its call for papers, inviting
proposals for papers as well as sessions of 4 related papers each. We welcome proposals focusing on any aspect of the historical analysis of economic change using both quantitative and qualitative methods, on any region of Europe or the wider world. We especially look for receiving proposals from young scholars and proposals using interdisciplinary approaches that push the boundaries of economic history.
Both paper and session proposals must be submitted through the ESSHC website by filling out the pre-registration form; please select "Economic History" from the list of networks. To propose a paper, submit a working title and an abstract of up to 500 words. To propose a session, submit a title and an abstract for the session and the list of participants. Proposal writers may suggest a chair and discussant(s) for the session, who may be the same person.
     All paper and session proposals must be submitted by May 1, 2017. Please see the full call for papers for additional details.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Deadline Reminder: 2017-2018 Rovensky Fellowships

Two $9,000 Rovensky Fellowships will be awarded for doctoral students writing their dissertations in U.S. business or economic history.
    Applicants must be working toward a Ph.D. degree with U.S. business or economic history as the area of major interest. Fellowship recipients must be enrolled in a doctoral program at an accredited college or university in the United States. Preference will be given to applicants who are preparing for a career in teaching and research and who will have completed all graduate course work prior to the fall of 2017. Awards are non-renewable, but awardees may use the fellowship concurrently with other funding sources, including grants or teaching assignments.
     More information and a link to the application form can be found on the BHC website at
    Inquiries may be directed to Marcelo Bucheli at Completed applications for the fellowship must be received no later than Friday, February 17, 2017. Winners will be announced at the 2017 Business History Conference Banquet. All application materials should be sent as e-mail file attachments (PDF format) to
     The fellowships are available largely through the generosity of the late John E. Rovensky and are administered by the University of Illinois Foundation.