Monday, November 12, 2018

Edwin J. Perkins, 1939-2018

Edwin J. Perkins, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California (USC), died unexpectedly on October 20, 2018, at the age of 79. Ed was a fixture at BHC meetings until recently, serving as BHC president in 1994-1995 and as editor of Business and Economic History Online, 2010-2012. He was also for many years associate editor of the Pacific Historical Review.
    Perkins earned his B.A. from William & Mary in 1961, his MBA at the University of Virginia in 1963, and his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in 1972 under the guidance of Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and Louis Galambos. He joined the faculty at USC in 1973, retiring in 1997.
    His major publications include Financing Anglo-American Trade: The House of Brown, 1800-1880 (1975), The Economy of Colonial America (1980), American Public Finance and Financial Services, 1700-1815 (1997), and Wall Street to Main Street: Charles Merrill and Middle-Class Investors (1999).
     An obituary, prepared by Karen Mahar in conjunction with his other students, is available on the BHC website:

Friday, November 9, 2018

Over the Counter, No. 44

A sampling from around the web:

The early Canadian history blog "Borealia" has produced a number of recent essays relating to land tenure in early Canada. First up was an essay by Allan Greer, "There Was No Seigneurial System"; this led to "Beyond the 'system': The enduring legacy of seigneurial property," by Benoît Grenier and Alain Laberge--which in turn produced a "Reply" from Greer. And finally, the blog offers a review of Greer's book, Property and Dispossession: Natives, Empires and Land in Early Modern North America (Cambridge University Press, 2018), on research for which his essay was based, by Gregory Kennedy.

Back Story Radio recently produced a two-part episode on the whaling industry in America, "Thar She Blows," part 1 and part 2. Written transcripts are available as well as audio.

"Quartz at Work" published an interview with Todd Bridgman, one of the authors of a recent article arguing for revisiting the HBS case method, in which he discusses the essay. Readers can also see a slide show about the article, which was published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal, on YouTube.

Several scholars have banded together to found the Long-Run Initiative, which aims "to demonstrate the practical value of historical expertise to contemporary decision makers and to create dialogue between academics, businesses and government." The directors are John Turner and Michael Aldous of Queens University Belfast and Laurence Mussio of Signal Influence Executive Research & Communications (SIERC).

The Baring Archive's collection of prospectuses has now been digitized. The collection documents over 300 transactions involving Barings and spans more than 100 years of the firm's history.

Stephen Campbell has published an essay on "A Vast Political Corporation: The Power of the Post Office in the Bank War" for the blog "We're History." The essay draws on his forthcoming book, The Bank War and the Partisan Press: Newspapers, Financial Institutions, and the Post Office (University Press of Kansas, January 2019).

Ben Schmidt's blog, "Creating Data: The Invention of Information in the American State, 1850-1950," has a recent post discussing Jeremy Atack's historical railroad dataset.

BBC Scotland News online has an interesting pictorial essay on "The Tea Tycoon Who Was 'the World's Best Loser."

"EdgeEffects," a podcast at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has posted "Tobacco’s World of Racial Capitalism: A Conversation with Nan Enstad." The interview, available as a podcast and also as an edited transcript, focuses on her new book, Cigarettes, Inc.: An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism (University of Chicago Press, November 2018).

The SHGAPE blog features an essay by Jamie Pietruska on "The Weather Forecast Company and the Business of Prediction,"drawing on her research for Looking Forward: Prediction and Uncertainty in Modern America (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

The program for the annual Workshop sponsored by the Women's Committee of the Economic History Society, held earlier this month, remains available online; the topic is "Women and Financial Advice."

The Merle Curti Lectures at the University of Wisconsin this year will host Bethany Moreton and N. D. B. Connolly, who will explore the theme "Re-Imagining Capital's Worlds: From Colonialism to the Alt-Right."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Program: “Making a Republic Imperial”

The Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) will hold a conference in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 28-29, 2019, on "Making a Republic Imperial." According to the conference website:
Before the American Revolution, the colonies and the continent beyond them were spaces of contest, collaboration, and competition among European empires, Native American powers, and enslaved and free African Americans. The founding generation of the early republic added its own imperial ambitions to this mix, revealing competing visions for the new nation, intense debate in the new citizenry about whether and how quickly the republic should expand, what role it should play among international states, and what its character and purpose should be. . . . Yet . . . [b]y the 1840s, the United States had refined its tools for dispossessing Native peoples and asserted a political economy grounded in black enslavement. It had conquered an immense amount of territory and claimed the Pacific Ocean as its western boundary, while setting its imperial sights upon regions, peoples, and resources much further afield.
    This two-day conference will bring together scholars of imperialism in its multiple early North American forms and spaces. The program is now available online. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For additional information, please consult the conference website.
    The conference is co-sponsored by the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Department of History at Princeton University, and Iona College’s Institute of Thomas Paine Studies.

Monday, November 5, 2018

CFP: Economic History Association 2019

The 2019 meeting of the Economic History Association (EHA) will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on September13-15. The theme of the meeting will be "Markets and Governments in Economic History." According to the call for papers,
The interactions between markets and governments are central issues in the organization of economies. From the beginning of time, groups of people had to decide whether to let their members trade resources and the fruits of their efforts freely or whether to distribute them in alternative ways in which the group set up rules for use and distribution of resources and output. . . . The theme offers scholars a broad range of options for proposals. Papers on markets alone, governments alone, or other topics are also welcome.
The Program Committe welcomes submissions on all subjects in economic history, though some preference will be given to papers that fit the theme of the conference. Papers should be submitted individually, but authors may suggest to the Committee that three particular papers fit well together in a panel. Papers should in all cases be works in progress rather than accepted or published work. Individuals who presented or co-authored a paper presented at the 2018 meeting are not eligible for inclusion in the 2019 program. Paper proposals should include a 3-5 page proposal and a 150 –word abstract suitable for publication in the Journal of Economic History. Please note that at least one of the authors must be a member of EHA. Papers and session proposals should be submitted online here: The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2019.
    For more details about the meeting and details about opportunities for graduate students, please see the full call for papers.

Friday, November 2, 2018

HBS Workshop: “Seeking the Unconventional in Forging Histories of Capitalism”

The Business History Initiative at Harvard Business School announces a two-day workshop to take place on May 9-10, 2019, on the topic "Seeking the Unconventional in Forging Histories of Capitalism."  Accordng to the website, the workshop
brings together scholars in the fields of history, economics, and management to explore the unconventional as it relates to researching and writing about entrepreneurship and business. The goal is to critically assess frameworks and approaches that animate scholarship in business history, the history of capitalism, and the comparative study of markets and institutions both past and present. We envision three complementary areas of discussion, i.e. unconventional techniques, unconventional sources, and unconventional capitalisms.
The program has not yet been finalized; more information will be forthcoming on the workshop website.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Business Historians in the News, October Edition

Recent forays of business historians into the public discourse:
On the "Public Books" blog, Kim Phillips-Fein writes about philanthropy and inequality in "Philanthropists Will Not Save Us."

In the wake of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, Richard John was quoted in a Vox article; he is the author of a 2015 essay in the Journal of Policy History, "Projecting Power Overseas: U.S. Postal Policy and International Standard-Setting at the 1863 Paris Postal Conference."

For the Commission on Democracy and Technology, Heidi Tworek writes about "What the History of Radio Tells Us about Technology and Democracy."

Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor and Lisa G. Materson wrote an essay for the History News Network on "What Historians Could Teach Senators on the Judiciary Committee"; they focus on historians' work in finding the harder to hear voices of women in the archives.

For "On the Media," Per Hansen discusses his recent work on how business as depicted in the film industry both reflects and shapes our views about money. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Journal Special Issues of Interest

Two journals have recently published special issues of interest to business and economic historians.

Frontiers of Economics in China (Sept. 2018, volume 13, no. 3), has just released a special issue on Chinese Economic History, guest-edited by Debin Ma of the London School of Economics. The special issue has free online access at: The seven articles discuss urban and rural economy, the monetary system, as well as the organization of financial institutions in pre-modern China. Acording to the editor, the articles reflect three distinctive features: "the emphasis on the primary importance of institutions and ideology, the employment of comparative (mostly with Europe) perspective, and the systematic application of quantitative analyses based on new archives and data."

The current issue of Entreprises et Histoire (volume 91, no. 2) focuses on "Emotions and Family Businesses." The introduction (in English, as are most of the articles), by Ludovic Cailluet, Fabian Bernhard, and Rania Labaki, is freely accessible online. On the topic of the special issue, they write: "in family businesses both the family and the business are affecting each other by their own emotional dynamics, creating a fertile soil for studies into emotions’ interaction with business decision."

Friday, October 26, 2018

Last Call: BHC 2019 Doctoral Colloquium

The BHC Doctoral Colloquium in Business History will be held once again in conjunction with the 2019 BHC annual meeting. This prestigious workshop, funded by Cambridge University Press, will take place in Cartagena, Colombia, on Wednesday March 13 and Thursday March 14. Typically limited to ten students, the Colloquium is open to doctoral candidates who are pursuing dissertation research within the broad field of business history, from any relevant discipline (e.g., from economic sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, or management, as well as history). Most participants are in year 3 or 4 or their degree program, though in some instances applicants at a later stage make a compelling case that their thesis research had evolved in ways that led them to see the advantages of an intensive engagement with business history.
      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 the incoming BHC president), discussing dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and research strategies, and career trajectories. Please check the meeting website for the 2019 faculty participants.
      Applications are due by November 15, 2018 ,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).
      All participants receive a stipend that partially defrays travel costs to the annual meeting. Questions about the Colloquium should be sent to its director, Duke Professor of History Edward Balleisen,

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Program Available: ESHSI Conference

The annual conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland (ESHSI) will take place in Belfast on November 30-December 1, 2018, at Queen's University Belfast.  The preliminary program has now been posted. In addition to regular sessions, the Ken Connell Lecture will be presented by John Turner of Queen's University Belfast; his topic will be "Wildcat Bankers or Political Failure? The Irish Financial Pantomime, 1797-1826." For more details, please see the ESHSI website.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Deadline Approaching: PEAES Postdoctoral Fellowships

Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) Postdoctoral Fellowships support research in the collections of the Library Company and other nearby institutions into the origins and development of the early American economy, broadly conceived, to roughly 1850. The fellowships provide scholars the opportunity to investigate the history of commerce, finance, technology, manufacturing, agriculture, internal improvements, economic policy making and other topics.
    Applicants may be citizens of any country, and they must hold a Ph.D. by September 1, 2019. The stipend is $40,000 for the academic year, or if the award is divided between two scholars, $20,000 per semester. Senior scholars are particularly encouraged to apply. All postdoctoral fellowships are tenable from September 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020, and fellows must be continuously in residence in the Philadelphia area for the duration of their fellowships.
    The deadline for receipt of applications is November 1, 2018, with a decision to be made by December 15. Make just one application; applicants will automatically be considered for all the fellowships for which they are eligible. To apply, go to to fill out an online coversheet and upload a single PDF containing a brief résumé, a 2-4 page description of proposed research, and a writing sample of no more than 25 pages. In addition, two confidential letters of recommendation should be submitted online in PDF format using the form provided on the application page.
     Candidates are strongly encouraged to inquire about the appropriateness of the proposed topic before applying. For more information about the PEAES award, email Cathy Matson at

Friday, October 19, 2018

Business Historians in the News: Sears Bankruptcy Edition

In the wake of the Sears bankruptcy announcement, Louis Hyman took to Twitter to write about the importance of the Sears catalog in the days of Jim Crow. The thread generated a lot of response, and it was picked up by numerous major news outlets, including, for example, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post. Hyman was then interviewed on the subject by NPR's "All Things Considered," and by the on-line site Jezebel.
    On WBUR's "On Point," Vicki Howard (author of From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store) joined Hyman to discuss the fate of Sears. Howard also appeared in an "All Things Considered" broadcast about the bankruptcy news. And in an Associated Press story, both Howard and Marc Levinson (author of author of The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America) are quoted about the former retailing giant.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

EABH Program and Registration Available: “Institutional Investors”

The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH), in cooperation with Schroders and Banque Lombard Odier, is holding a conference on "Institutional Investors: The History of Professional Fund Management" on October 26, 2018, at Schroders in London. As the organizers explain,
Up to the beginning of the 20th century stocks were primarily owned by wealthy private individuals. Now, 100 years later, institutional investors hold almost twice the amount. . . . The ascent of institutional investors as one of the most powerful players on global financial markets today is a highly relevant yet under researched topic. This conference will ask the question of when, how and why this massive structural shift happened? And which are the consequences for our societies?
The program has been posted, and registration is available on-line. The registration site also includes lodging information and other details.

Monday, October 15, 2018

WEHC 2021, Paris: First Call for Sessions

The next World Economic History Congress (WEHC) will be held in Paris, on July 25-30, 2021, at the new Campus Condorcet currently under construction. The theme for the meeting will be "Resources." The meeting website states
. . . the finding, supply and circulation of resources has been an incentive for construction of spaces, occupation of territories, imperialism and emerging of new patterns of development and organizations. The challenges of our modern world require a common reflection on the political economy of resources. While seeking proposals for sessions that explore aspects of this broad theme, we also welcome submissions on the economic and social histories of all places and periods, on the exploration of varied sources and methods, and on the theory and the uses of economic history itself. We also invite members to employ and analyze diverse strategies for representing the past.
The "first call for sessions" has been posted. It closes June 30, 2019.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Approaching Deadline: Nominations for 2019 BHC Book Prizes

The Hagley Prize in Business History is awarded annually to the best book in business history, broadly defined. The prize committee encourages the submission of books from all methodological perspectives. It is particularly interested in innovative studies that have the potential to expand the boundaries of the discipline. Scholars, publishers, and other interested parties may submit nominations. Eligible books can have either an American or an international focus. They must be written in English and be published during the two years (2017 or 2018 copyright) prior to the award.
    The Ralph Gomory Prize, made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, recognizes historical work on the effects of business enterprises on the economic conditions of the countries in which they operate. A prize of $5,000 is awarded annually for a book published in the two years prior to the year of the award (2017 and 2018). Book nominations are accepted from publishers.
     For either award, four copies of the book must accompany a nomination and be submitted to the prize coordinator, Carol Ressler Lockman, Hagley Museum and Library, PO Box 3630, 298 Buck Road, Wilmington DE 19807-0630. The deadline for nominations is November 30, 2018. The prizes will be presented at the annual meeting of the Business History Conference in Cartagena, Colombia, in March 2019.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CFP: Economic and Business History Society 2019

The 44th Economic and Business History Society (EBHS) Annual Conference will be held on June 5-8, 2019, at the Fort Shelby Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. The general theme is "Manufacturing and the City"; however, individual proposals for presentations on any aspect of economic, social, or business history are welcome, as are proposals for whole panels. Submissions from graduate students and non-academic affiliates are also welcome. Proposals should include an abstract of no more than 500 words and contact details. The deadline for submission of proposals is February 15, 2019. Proposals may be submitted through the EBHS website at, or by email to
      Questions about the meeting or organization can be directed to program chair Jeremy Land ( or EBHS 2019 President John Moore ( Please consult the complete call for papers for more details. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Digital Resources: The BHC Website

For those of you not familiar with the BHC website, or who check it only for annual meeting updates, we'd like to remind you of some of the content available.
  • Since taking over in 2015 as editor for teaching and research resources on the website, Michael Aldous has produced several valuable conversations with business historians, from Geoff Jones on business history and emerging markets, to Sharon Murphy on the case method, to technology in the classroom with Chinmay Tumbe.
  • The book bibliographies published here at seasonal intervals are collected on the BHC website under "Books of Interest."
  • The full text of nearly all articles (1962-1999) published in the print editions of Business and Economic History is available on the site, as is the text of articles in the natively online version, BEH On-Line.
  • Detailed information about past annual meetings can be found linked from our main Annual Meetings page. Previous programs, including a complete set, 2000-2018, are archived on the BHC site, as are the abstracts from each year. Presidential addresses are also linked from here; those published in Enterprise and Society require a membership login or subscription for access; those published in Business and Economic History are freely available.
  • The website also contains a number of major resource sections: web resources, syllabi, and bibliographies pertaining to the three informal interest groups that the BHC administers: Business Historians at Business Schools, Women in Business History, and Emerging Scholars. Self-selecting membership lists are maintained for each of the groups, where members can provide information about their areas of expertise.
  • Finally, current and historical governance information--committee members, trustees, editorial staff, and past presidents--can be found.
      All of this information is freely available to anyone accessing the website. In addition, there are features available only to BHC members. Perhaps the two most valuable are listings in the "Expertise Database" and direct access to the BHC's journal, Enterprise and Society. Members may also post announcements and add syllabi to the website.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Digital Resource: Irish Immigration Project

"Moving Beyond 'Rags to Riches' " is a website that aims to "use digital history to uncover the lost stories of New York's Irish Famine immigrants." The project was initiated by Tyler Anbinder, who enlisted Simone Wegge and Cormac Ó Gráda for their expertise. According to the site creators,
We created this site to give students, scholars, and anyone interested in history access to more than 1,000 original documents chronicling the lives of New York’s pre-Civil War immigrant community. Our work focuses in particular on the “Famine Irish” who came to New York by the tens of thousands annually in the late 1840s and early 1850s. . . . We’ve chosen about 400 of these immigrants—representing a cross-section of the Irish immigrant experience—and gathered documents (including census records, ship manifests, news accounts, and even their bank records) to allow you to understand how they survived and, in many cases, ultimately thrived in America.
In addition to the dataset, which is organized under various subjects, there are maps, photos, and historical prints. Sections are arranged for educators, researchers, and students at various levels.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

CFP: EBHA 2019

The European Business History Association (EBHA) will hold its 2019 annual congress at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on August 29-31.The theme will be "The Business History of Creativity." According to the call for papers,
This congress focusses on creativity in business history and aims to analyse the evolution of the creative industries, including art markets, film, fashion, radio, television, music, design, theatre, tourism and video games. Not only does creativity matter to its namesake industries, but also to most other sectors of national and international economies. It forms the basis of innovation and firm competitiveness. The creative industries are based on creativity, skills, and talent, and the potential for wealth and job creation through the development of intellectual property. Nevertheless, these industries, their firms and their entrepreneurs are under-researched topics in business history.
For an extended discussion of the conference theme and submission guidelines, please see the full call for papers. The deadline for all proposals is January 31, 2019.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Digital Resource: Directory of Business Archives in German-Speaking Countries

The Wirtschaftsarchiv-portal (WAP) is an online directory of business archives in German-speaking countries, thus presenting German, Austrian, and Swiss business archives together. The portal provides contact details for company and business archives and an overview of their historical sources. Although the site is in German, searches are easy with a basic vocabulary. And if one knows the name of the archives, the directory provides a quick way to find a basic description of the institution's holdings and contact information.
     The WAP is supported by the Society for Business History (Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte), the Association of German Business Archivists (Vereinigung deutscher Wirtschaftsarchivare), and the Institute for Bank-Historical Research (Institut für bankhistorische Forschung).

Friday, September 28, 2018

CFP: ABH 2019

The Association of Business Historians (ABH) will hold its next annual meeting at Sheffield Hallam University on July 4-6, 2019; the theme of the conference will be "Business Transformation in an Uncertain World." According to the call for papers,
Businesses have always operated in a shifting and uncertain environment. Such uncertainty has stemmed from a variety of factors including the surprising behaviour of rivals, the advent of new and sometimes disruptive technologies (such as steam power or electricity), changes in consumer tastes, the tightening or relaxation of regulation, macroeconomic disturbances (such as depressions), natural and industrial disasters, national-ization, political crises and war. The conference seeks to explore how businesses (and business organizations) in the past charted their way through an uncertain world, whether reactively or creatively through reorganization and the development of new strategies to secure an advantage. Failure may be as interesting as success.
For more details about the conference theme and other conference activities, please see the call for papers; deadlines will be announced later this fall.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Book Reviews of Interest, Summer 2018 Edition

Reviews of interest, mostly ungated, published over the summer:
Edward Balleisen, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoffreviewed by Cristie Ford for Jotwell.

Hartmut Berghoff, Jan L. Logemann, and Felix Römer, eds., The Consumer on the Home Front: Second World War Civilian Consumption in Comparative Perspectivereviewed by Manuel Schramm for H-German.

Fahad Ahmad Bishara, A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950reviewed by Johan Mathew for H-IslamInAfrica.

Trevor Burnard and John Garrigus, The Plantation Machine: Atlantic Capitalism in French Saint-Domingue and British Jamaica, and Paul Cheney, Cul-de-Sac: Patrimony, Capitalism and Slavery in French Saint-Domingue, jointly reviewed by Andy Cabot for Books and Ideas.

William J. Collins and Robert A. Margo, eds., Enterprising America: Businesses, Banks, and Credit Markets in Historical Perspective, reviewed by Lee A. Craig for EH.Net.

Joshua Clark Davis, From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneursreviewed by Jan Logemann for H-Soz-u-Kult. [in German]

David Edgerton, The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth Century Historyreviewed by David Goodhart for the Evening Standard, and reviewed by Colin Kidd for the New Statesman.

Marc Flandreau, Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange: A Financial History of Victorian Sciencereviewed by Emily Buchnea for the Canadian Business History Association. And we've missed these in the past, so readers might want to check out the cumulative list, here.

Anne Fleming, City of Debtors: A Century of Fringe Finance, reviewed by Aditi Bagchi for Jotwell.

David Kynaston, Till Time's Last Sand: A History of the Bank of England, 1694-2013, reviewed by James Buchan for the New York Review of Books.

Mary A. O’Sullivan, Dividends of Development: Securities Markets in the History of U.S. Capitalism, 1866-1922, reviewed by Jon Moen for EH.Net.

Kim Phillips-Fein, Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politicsreviewed by Reuel Schiller for Jotwell.

Simon Partner, The Merchant's Tale: Yokohama and the Transformation of Japanreviewed by Simon Bytheway for H-Japan.

Eric Rauchway, The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace, reviewed by Andrew Baker for H-War.

Joshua Schreier, The Merchants of Oran: A Jewish Port at the Dawn of Empirereviewed by Jonathan G. Katz for H-Judaic.
Adam Tooze, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the Worldreviewed by Fareed Zakaria for the New York Times.

James Walvin, Sugar: The World Corrupted, from Slavery to Obesityreviewed by Sven Beckert for the New York Times.

Adam Winkler, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rightsreviewed by David Cole for The Nation.

Christian Wolmar, Railways and the Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed Indiareviewed by Aparajita Mukhopadhyay for Reviews in History.

Robert E. Wright, The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economyreviewed by Vincent Geloso for EH.Net.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Final Call: BHC 2019 Meeting, Cartagena

A final reminder that the deadline for all paper and panel proposals for the 2019 annual meeting of the Business History Conference is October 1, 2018. The theme of the meeting, which will be held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on March 14–16, 2019, is “Globalization and De-Globalization: Shifts of Power and Wealth.” According to the organizers, the conference “aims to concentrate on business history research agendas that enable a nuanced understanding of the phenomena of globalization and de-globalization. The conference theme encourages contributions from a variety of approaches to business history research, covering a broad range of geographies and periods.” For much more, including suggested topics, submission procedures, and information about the Kerr and Krooss prizes and the Doctoral Colloquium, please see the full call for papers.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Deadline Approaching: APHES Registration

The Portuguese Association of Economic and Social History (APHES) will hold its next annual meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, on November 16-17. The theme will be "Gender in Economic and Social History." The keynote address will be delivered by Jane Humphries, emeritus professor of economic history at the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College.

    Online registration for the meeting is now open: early bird registration concludes September 30; online registration closes on October 15. All registrants must be members of the APHES. When available, the full program will be accessible here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hagley 2018 Fall Conference: Schedule Available

The 2018 fall conference, sponsored by the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library, will take place on November 8-9.  The topic, "Seeing Like a Capitalist: Histories of Commercial Surveillance in America," will examine the "non-state surveillance activities that might be found in a variety of business settings and industries, involve a range of formal or informal practices, and might be directed at customers, media audiences, borrowers, consumer markets, employees, or labor." The program has now been posted on the Hagley website.
    Sarah E. Igo (Vanderbilt University) will open the conference with a keynote address on Thursday, evening, November 8, in which she will discuss her new book, The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America (Harvard University Press, May 2018). Conference panels will take place throughout the day on Friday, November 9.    
      There is no fee, but attendees must register in advance. Please contact Carol Lockman if you would like to attend, and see the full conference announcement on the Hagley website.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Over the Counter: No. 43

News of interest from around the web:
From H-Soz-u-Kult, a summary [in English] of the presentations at a workshop, "Business and the Law: Perspectives on Legal Change," held at the University of Bayreuth in June.

The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library has announced that the 2018–2019 Jefferson Scholars/Hagley Library Fellow in Business and Politics will be A. J. Murphy, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University.

An interesting blog maintained by Irwin Collier: "Economics in the Rear-View Mirror: Archival Artifacts from the History of Economics."

Stephen Mihm of the University of Georgia has been awarded a grant of $60,000 under the NEH's Public Scholar Program for a book project entitled "Industrial and Technical Standards in Modern Life: A History," on the history, from the late eighteenth century to the present, of the industrial and technical standards that enable modern life.

Mihm also writes occasional pieces for Bloomberg Opinion; his latest is "As an Economic Forecaster, Copper Fails Miserably."

The 16th annual St. Louis Fed Professors Conference will meet this year on November 1-2; speakers include Martha Olney and Lisa Cook.

The Institute of Historical Research held a conference last winter focused on "Home: New Histories of Living"; the program, with abstracts, remains available online.

Two useful digital directories from the American Historical Association are back online: the Directory of History Dissertations and the Directory of History Departments and Institutions.

Tirthankar Roy participated in a video interview about his book on the East India Company for Bloomberg Quint.

Caitlin Rosenthal wrote an opinion piece for Time on "How the History of Slavery in America Offers an Important Labor Day Lesson."

Sad to report that Ferry de Goey (1959-2018) of Erasmus University passed away on July 22; a remembrance can be found here.

The first volume (2018) of Current Research in Digital History features two articles of particular interest: the first, by Atiba Pertilla, is "Mapping Mobility: Class and Spatial Mobility in the Wall Street Workforce, 1890–1914"; the second, by Marcy L. Galbreath and Amy L. Giroux, is "Researching Genres in Agricultural Communities: The Role of the Farm Record Book." The latter introduces the Historical Agricultural News (HAN) website, a search tool they developed that enables users to filter agriculturally related topics in digitized newspaper articles.

There have been several recent interviews of interest on the "New Books Network" blog:
Peter James Hudson, Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean;
Rupali Mishra, A Business of State: Commerce, Politics, and the Birth of the East India CompanyDavid George Surdam and Michael J. Haupert, The Age of Ruth and Landis: The Economics of Baseball during the Roaring TwentiesWilliam D. Bryan, The Price of Permanence: Nature and Business in the New South

Friday, September 14, 2018

New Books of Interest: Summer 2018 Edition

A (by no means complete) listing of new and forthcoming books of interest for this summer, covering late May-September 2018:
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo, Cash and Dash: How ATMs and Computers Changed Banking (Oxford University Press, September 2018)

Michael Bliss, Northern Enterprise: Five Centuries of Canadian Business (new ed., ed. John Turley-Ewart) (Rock's Mills Press, August 2018) [no publisher page].

William D. Bryan, The Price of Permanence: Nature and Business in the New South (University of Georgia Press, August 2018)

John W. Chaffee, The Muslim Merchants of Premodern China: The History of a Maritime Asian Trade Diaspora, 750–1400 (Cambridge University Press, August 2018)

Nicholas Crafts, Forging Ahead, Falling Behind and Fighting Back: British Economic Growth from the Industrial Revolution to the Financial Crisis (Cambridge University Press, September 2018)

Ben Dew, Commerce, Finance, and Statecraft: Histories of England, 1600-1780 (Manchester University Press, August 2018)

Joe Dobrow, Pioneers of Promotion: How Press Agents for Buffalo Bill, P. T. Barnum, and the World’s Columbian Exposition Created Modern Marketing (University of Oklahoma Press, June 2018)

Rodney Edvinsson, Tor Jacobson, and Daniel Waldenstrom, eds., Sveriges Riksbank and the History of Central Banking (Cambridge University Press, June 2018)

Janet R. Goodwin and Joan R. Piggott, eds., Land, Power, and the Sacred: The Estate System in Medieval Japan (University of Hawai'i Press, July 2018)

Shane Hamilton, Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the Cold War Farms Race (Yale University Press, September 2018)

Daniel Hershenzon, The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean (University of Pennsylvania Press, September 2018)

David M. Higgins, Brands, Geographical Origin, and the Global Economy: A History from the Nineteenth Century to the Present (Cambridge University Press, May 2018)

Louis Hyman, Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary (Viking, August 2018)

Kristian Kristiansen, Thomas Lindkvist, and Janken Myrdal, eds., Trade and Civilisation: Economic Networks and Cultural Ties, from Prehistory to the Early Modern Era (Cambridge University Press, August 2018)

Bettina Liverant, Buying Happiness: The Emergence of Consumer Consciousness in English Canada (University of British Columbia Press, June 2018)

Christopher Miller, Planning and Profits: British Naval Armaments Manufacture and the Military Industrial Complex, 1918-1941 (Liverpool University Press, June 2018)

Lars Olsson, Women's Work and Politics in WWI America: The Munsingwear Family of Minneapolis (Palgrave Macmillan, June 2018)

Caitlin Rosenthal, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management (Harvard
University Press, August 2018)

David George Surdam and Michael J. Haupert, The Age of Ruth and Landis: The Economics of Baseball during the Roaring Twenties (University of Nebraska Press, June 2018)

C. Bruce Tarter, The American Lab: An Insider’s History of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Johns Hopkins University Press, June 2018)

Adam Tooze, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World (Viking, August 2018)

John Wall, Streamliner: Raymond Loewy and Image-making in the Age of American Industrial Design (Johns Hopkins University Press, June 2018)

Pim de Zwart and Jan Luiten van Zanden, The Origins of Globalization: World Trade in the Making of the Global Economy, 1500-1800 (Cambridge University Press, September 2018)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Workshop and Seminar Schedule, Fall 2018

As the new academic year begins, we again offer a round-up of ongoing workshops, forums, and discussion groups in business and economic history. Please check each website for more detailed information. Some groups, particularly those in non-US universities, may not yet have posted Fall 2018 information; in those cases, a link to the home site or last available listing is included.
     In addition to their value for those able to participate directly, these groups often maintain mailing lists and sometimes make speakers' papers freely available.
Business History Seminar, Harvard Business School
Business History @ Erasmus Seminars
Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society (Hagley) Research Seminars
Columbia University Seminar in Economic History
Economic History Seminar, LSE
Economic History Seminar, Stern School of Business, NYU
Economic History Seminar, University of California, Berkeley
Economic History Workshop, Stanford University
Economic and Social History of the Premodern World, IHR, University of London
Economic and Social History Seminar, Utrecht University (scroll down)
Harvard Economic History Workshop
History and Economics Seminar, Harvard University
International and Global History Forum, Harvard University
Newberry Seminar on the History of Capitalism
Northwestern Economic History Workshop
Oxford Graduate Seminar in Economic and Social History
Paris School of Economics, Economic History Seminar
PEAES Fellows Colloquium and Seminars, Library Company of Philadelphia
Penn Economic History Forum
Queen's University (Ontario) Economic History Workshop
Queen's University (Belfast) Centre for Economic History Workshop
Seminars in Economic and Social History, University of Cambridge
Vanderbilt University Economic History Workshop
Washington (D.C.) Area Economic History Seminar
Yale Economic History Workshop
In addition, a sampling of other seminars which, though not specifically focused on business or economic history, often have papers of interest:
Massachusetts Historical Society Seminars
MIT Seminar on Environmental and Agricultural History
McNeil Center for Early American Studies
Omohundro Institute Colloquium
Georgetown Institute for Global History Seminar Series

Monday, September 10, 2018

Prizes Awarded: EHA 2018

The Economic History Association (EHA) has just completed its annual meeting, this year held in Montreal, Canada. The organization has announced its award recipients:
The Allan Nevins Prize for the best dissertation in U.S. or Canadian economic history: Gillian Brunet, “Understanding The Effects of Fiscal Policy: Measurement, Mechanisms, and Lessons from History” (University of California Berkeley)

Alexander Gerschenkron Prize for the Best Dissertation in non-US or Canadian economic history:  Erik Prawitz, “On the Move: Essays on the Economic and Political Development of Sweden” (Stockholm University)

Jonathan Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching Economic History:  Howard Bodenhorn (Clemson University)

Arthur H. Cole Prize for the best article published in the Journal of Economic History Mohamed Saleh, “On the Road to Heaven: Taxation, Conversions, and the Coptic-Muslim Socioeconomic Gap in Medieval Egypt” (June 2018)

Ranki Prize for the best book published in the previous year: Leah Bustan, Princeton University, for Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migrants in Northern Cities and Labor Markets (Princeton University Press)

Alice Hanson Jones Prize for the best book in North American economic history: Douglas Irwin, Clashing over Commerce: A History of US Trade Policy (University of Chicago Press)

Engerman-Goldin Prize for compilation and distribution of a dataset within the last five years: Jeremy Atack (Vanderbilt University) (his databases are available here.)

Larry Neal Prize for the best article published in Explorations in Economic History: Jim Siodla, “Clean Slate: Land-Use Changes in San Francisco after the 1906 Disaster”
 (April 2017)
Those who missed the meeting can find relevant posts on Twitter at #EHA2018. The final program booklet also contains abstracts of all the papers.

Friday, September 7, 2018

EBHA 2018: Papers Online

Those unable  to attend the 2018 European Business History Association (EBHA) congress, currently taking place at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, might wish to check out the final version of the meeting program. Nearly 75 of the papers have been uploaded and are freely available. Facebook users can see images on the EBHA Facebook site; on Twitter it's #ebha2018.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Business History in the Blogosphere, August 2018

A number of business historians have written or been quoted in blog posts recently. A sampling:
For the Economic History Society blog, "The Long Run," Aaron Graham writes "Wages of Sin: Slavery and the Banks, 1830-50," drawing on data from the "Legacies of British Slave Ownership Project."

For SHOT's "Technology's Stories" blog, Daniel Levinson Wilk writes about "A Brief Episode in the History of Dusting."

For the Society of U.S. Intellectual History blog, Andy Seal begins a series "Asking New Questions of the New History of Capitalism." Subsequent posts so far are "When Did the History of Capitalism Become New? Periodizing the Field" and "Two Paths for the History of Capitalism: Commodification and Proletarianization."

On "Black Perspectives," the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, Paige Glotzer writes about "The Connections between Urban Development and Colonialism."

For the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE), J. Martin Vest writes "On Nippers, Nipper-Napping, and the New York Public Library."

At the Legal History Blog, Laura Phillips Sawyer continues her series of posts: "On Finding a Dissertation Project. . ."; "From Brandeis and the American Fair Trade League to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Antitrust Reform"; and "Legal Research at the Hagley Museum & Library."

Natalya Vinokurova discusses (audio and transcript) her research on the development of mortgage-backed securities and the parallels to the present day on "Knowledge@ Wharton."

Caitlin Rosenthal is interviewed by John Fea on his "The Way of Improvement Leads Home" about her new book, Accounting for Slavery.

Louis Hyman talks (audio and transcript) with Kara Swisher about his new book, Temp: How American Work, American Business and the American Dream Became Temporary, on "Recode Decode."

Monday, September 3, 2018

WEHC 2018 Wrap-Up

The 2018 World Economic History Congress (WEHC) in Boston is over, but materials of interest remain on the website. The media page for the Congress has links to the slides presented by each of the plenary speakers, as well as links to interviews with Thomas Piketty and Anne McCants. The site also lists the winners of both the dissertation and the poster competitions.
    For those on Facebook or Twitter, posts of interest can be found at the WEHC2018 Facebook site, at the Twitter account @WEHC2018., and with #wehc2018

Friday, August 31, 2018

Immediate Job Opening: Research Fellow and Intern at Hagley

The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library is recruiting for a twelve-month Research Fellow and Intern to take up duties as soon after September 1, 2018, as possible. The position requires approximately two days per week of work which must be conducted at Hagley, and permits the Fellow to make use of a private office for his/her own research activities. It may be held in conjunction with other employment (e.g., teaching or fellowships) so long as those duties do not interfere with Hagley responsibilities, especially Thursday events.
Responsibilities include:
  • To be present at Hagley on average two days per week, including attending and assisting as assigned at the Center’s author talks, seminars, conference, and brown bags;
  • Conduct research interviews with visiting scholars that will be included in the Center’s "Stories from the Stacks" program;
  • Obtain and edit blog articles from visiting scholars that will appear in Hagley’s Research and Collection News;
  • Prepare promotional materials for the Center to post on Hagley’s web page and manage social media for the Center;
  • Network with resident scholars at Hagley and enhance Hagley’s scholarly community;
  • Engage in and share personal scholarship while at Hagley
Compensation: $24,000 for eleven months of work in a twelve-month period; private office and computer accessible during Hagley’s regular business hours; status as funded scholar, providing use of Hagley mail, Internet, and interlibrary loan; $1,500 stipend for travel to scholarly events or for personal research. No healthcare or other benefits provided.

  • Master’s degree in history or related discipline; ABD status or above preferred 
  • Research interests relevant to Hagley’s collections 
  • Experience with programming and/or event coordination 
  • Knowledge of social media, spreadsheets, and web page software 
  • Well-organized and self-motivated
Interested applicants should send a letter and c.v. to Roger Horowitz, Director, Center for the History of Business, Technology and Society, Hagley Museum and Library, The letter should address the following: the applicant’s research interests, programming experience, and social media experience. Applications should be sent as soon as possible and will be accepted until the position is filled.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

CFP: “Investigating Mid-Atlantic Plantations”

A joint call for papers has been issued for "Investigating Mid-Atlantic Plantations: Slavery, Economies, and Space," to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 17-19, 2019. The Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Stenton Museum, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies (MCEAS), Cliveden of the National Trust, and the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania seek proposals to contribute scholarly findings at a conference exploring the creation and development of plantations in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century mid-Atlantic region. According to the call for papers:
A real-world challenge to Thomas Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian republic of (white) smallholders, plantations were sites of concentrated wealth and exploitation. More familiar in a Southern context, mid-Atlantic plantations had their own forms, meanings, and relationships. This conference seeks to understand the unique qualities of plantation complexes in the middle colonies (states) while also comparing these regional phenomena with better-known Southern institutions and situating them within the larger contexts of British North America and the United States. 
Participants are sought
from diverse fields including economic, social, and cultural history; African American studies; geography, archeology, and material culture; and museum studies, cultural resource management, and historic preservation. Paper proposals might address economic, familial, and religious networks; enslavement, indenture, and “free” labor; land ownership and land development; agricultural and horticultural practices; architecture, circulation, and spatial relationships; physical and cognitive maps; foodways and music; industry and commerce; and the construction of gendered or racial categories. 
Conference organizers will consider individual papers and panel submissions. Papers will be pre-circulated. Please submit an abstract (250 words) and a short curriculum vitae to Proposals for panels should include materials for each participant.
     The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2018. Please see the full call for papers for additional details.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Journal CFP: Scandinavian Economic History Review: “The Quest for Competitive Markets”

The editors of the Scandinavian Economic History Review have issued a call for papers for a special issue on "The quest for competitive markets: exploring competition and collusion in theory and practice in historical perspective."
    According to the guest editors, Susanna Fellman (Gothenburg University & University of Helsinki) and Martin Shanahan (University of South Australia, Adelaide),
the core focus will be to address questions concerning the connections between the legal/regulatory environment and company and/or cartel behaviour. The approach of the individual contributions can differ in methodology, and can have either a micro and/or a macro perspective, but each contribution should be profoundly historical in approach and should address the interaction and/or interdependence between the regulatory environment and cartel/firm behaviour.
The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2018. Potential contributors are encouraged to contact either of the guest editors, Susanna Fellman ( or Martin Shanahan (, to discuss their topics and approach in advance of the deadline. Please consult the full call for papers for additional information.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Business Historians in the News: August 2018

A number of business historians have appeared in the media recently:
With the launch of his new book, Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary (Viking, August 2018 ), Louis Hyman has made numerous press appearances. He wrote an OpEd for the New York Times titled "It's Not Technology That's Disrupting Our Jobs." He was interviewed by US News and World Report on "The Temp Economy and the Future of Work"; and he can be heard on WBUR's "On Point" discussing "The Origin Story of the Gig Economy." The book itself was the subject of a "Books of the Times" review by Jennifer Szalai.

Caitlin Rosenthal discussed her new book, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management (Harvard University Press, August 2018), on NPR's "Marketplace"; she wrote about her research in "How Slavery Inspired Modern Business Management" in the Boston Review; and John Griffin highlights her work in the newest issue of Harvard Magazine.

Elon Musk has been on the minds of several business historians these days. David Kirsch and Brent Goldfarb draw on research from their forthcoming book, Bubbles and Crashes: The Boom and Bust of Technological Innovation (Stanford University Press, February 2019) to discuss "Is Elon Musk Taking Tesla into a Dead End?" for Industry Week. And, for the "Tropics of Meta" blog, Gavin Benke reminds us that "Elon Musk's Meltdown Is an Old Story." Benke is the author of Risk and Ruin: Enron and the Culture of American Capitalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).

W. Patrick McCray urges historians of technology to abandon the notion of "the great white innovator," in "It's Not All Lightbulbs," written for "Aeon" in conjunction with The Maintainers organization.

Regina Blaszczyk, who has written widely as a business historian of fashion and design, most recently (with Ben Wubs) in The Fashion Forecasters: A Hidden History of Color and Trend Prediction (Bloomsbury, 2018), was quoted in The Guardian's recent piece on fashion colors and culture.

For his own blog, "The Past Speaks," Andrew Smith shares some thoughts on Elizabeth Warren's Accountable Capitalism Act.

The Copenhagen Business School "Wire" interviews Per Hansen about his recent Business History Review article (linked in full text from the CBS site), co-authored with Anne Magnussen, on "Making Sense of Business and Community in Hollywood Films, 1928-2016."

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Harold C. Livesay, 1934-2018

We regret to report that well-known business historian Harold C. Livesay, most recently Clifford A. Taylor Professor in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, passed away on August 9, 2018. After a varied and unconventional early career that ranged from tomato picker to railroad yardmaster and beyond, Hal Livesay decided on an academic life. He received a B.A. from the University of Delaware in 1966 and a Ph.D. in History from the Johns Hopkins University in 1970.
      His major publications include Merchants and Manufacturers: Studies in the Changing Patterns of Distribution [with Glenn Porter] (1971); Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business (1975); and American Made: Men Who Built the American Economy (1979). Livesay was an active member of the Business History Conference for many years, and he also served as president of the Economic and Business History Society (1990-1991). For a fuller description of his life (and a hint of his personality), readers are directed to his CV on the TAMU faculty website.
     The BHC has established a page on its website where friends and colleagues may post their remembrances of Livesay. Please send your contribution to BHC webmaster Shane Hamilton at; he will upload messages as they are received.

Monday, August 20, 2018

CFP: Economic and Social History of Ireland Conference 2018

The annual conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland (ESHSI) will take place in Belfast on November 30-December 1, 2018, at Queen's University Belfast. According to the call for papers, the meeting will not have a specific theme; rather, the organizers welcome proposals on any topic in economic and social history.
      Abstracts of papers and proposals for panels should be sent to Dr. Graham Brownlow ( by October 5, 2018. Abstracts should be between 250 and 300 words, and panel proposals should include a title, contact details for all speakers, and abstracts for all papers to be included in the session. For more details, please see the ESHSI website and the full call for papers.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Introducing the New Editor of "The Exchange"

The Trustees of the Business History Conference are happy to announce that Dr. Paula de la Cruz Fernández has been selected from a field of candidates to become the new editor of "The Exchange."
     Dr. de la Cruz-Fernández received her BA in History and MA in Anthropology from the Universidad de Granada (Spain) and received her doctorate in History at Florida International University in Miami, Florida (United States). She is a historian and researcher of gender, culture, and multinationals, and she has published in Enterprise and Society and Business History Review. Her Enterprise and Society article on the Singer Sewing Machine Company was awarded the 2015 Mira Wilkins Prize for the best article published annually in the journal pertaining to international and comparative business history. She currently works as a digital archivist at the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. de la Cruz-Fernández is also a digital information management expert, an editor, and a translator.
     Dr. de la Cruz Fernández has already begun familiarizing herself with the blog and will take over from Pat Denault officially in early 2019.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Laura Phillips Sawyer Is Guest Contributor for the Legal History Blog

The Legal History Blog has announced that the site's guest blogger in August will be Laura Phillips Sawyer, assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, where she was previously a Newcomen Fellow. Sawyer is also a member of the BHC's Board of Trustees.
      Her research focuses on U.S. political economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly on competition law and policy and its administration. She is the author of the recently released American Fair Trade: Proprietary Capitalism, Corporatism, and the "New Competition," 1880-1940 (Cambridge University Press). Her first post of the month concerns "Blending Business History and Legal History."