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."

Monday, August 13, 2018

Program Available: Business History Society of Japan, 2018

The 54th Congress of the Business History Society of Japan (BHSJ) will meet in Kyoto, Japan, on September 29-30, 2018. The preliminary program is now available on the meeting website. As in the recent past, there will be several sessions in English, as well as an English-language plenary session. The latter, titled "Situating Business History: Going Beyond National, Disciplinary and Methodological Boundaries," will be chaired by Takafumi Kurosawa and Junko Watanabe, with discussion by Takafumi Kurosawa, Pierre-Yves Donzé, Teresa da Silva Lopes, Matthias Kipping, and Andrea Lluch.
    In addition, the BHSJ Congress will include the 32d meeting of the Fuji Conference, which will take place on September 30 and have as a theme "Toward Global Business History: A Focus on the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Industry." Fuji Conference sessions are conducted in English.
    Note that "early bird" registration closes on August 15; thereafter, on-line regular registration is available through September 24. For additional information, please consult the BHSJ Congress website.

Friday, August 10, 2018


The 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 18-21. The call for papers has just been posted:
The program committee invites proposals for sessions and papers exploring all aspects of and approaches to the history and culture of the early American republic, c. 1776-1861. We particularly encourage submissions that
  • reflect the diversity of the past, but also address the most pressing issues of the present; 
  • fill gaps in the historical narrative and/or historiography; 
  • focus on pedagogy, public history, digital humanities, and other alternative methodologies; 
  • foster audience participation, feature pre-circulated papers, or assess the state of a given field.
Individual proposals will be considered, but the program committee gives priority to proposals for complete panels that include a chair and commentator. 
The submission deadline is December 1, 2018. For more information, please see the complete call for papers and the SHEAR annual meeting website.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Two Folger Programs of Interest, 2018-2019

Two of the 2018-2019 programs at the Folger Shakespeare Institute in Washington, D.C. will be of particular interest to readers (note that each seminar has its own application deadline):

Jennifer L. Morgan of New York University will head a colloquium entitled "Finance, Race, and Gender in the Early Modern Atlantic World."  From the website description:
In recent years, a host of new scholarship exploring the relationship between slavery and capitalism has emerged. How might this new canon be reconfigured by a thorough consideration of race and gender in tandem with histories of fungibility and value? . . .  Interrogating early modern notions of finance by asking how they intersected with, shaped, and were shaped by categories of race and gender will garner new understandings of these interrelated processes. This year-long colloquium will explore those intersections between histories of race, gender, and finance that culminate in early modern Atlantic slavery.
The deadline for this program is September 4, 2018. It will meet on selected Friday afternoons throughout the academic year.

Philip Stern of Duke University will lead a spring term seminar on "The Corporation in Early Modern Political Thought." From the website description:
This seminar will trace the evolution of the corporation as an idea and an institution, particularly in relation to European commerce and empire in Asia, Africa, the Atlantic, and Mediterranean worlds. It will engage with questions about legal and institutional pluralism and the composite nature of imperial sovereignty, the intimate relationship between political economy and political thought, the development of ideas about the distinctions between “public” good and “private” interest, and the ways in which encounters with other Europeans as well as indigenous peoples outside Europe influenced European political and economic thought.
The application deadline for this program is January 7, 2019 (but grant-in-aid application are due September 4, 2018). The seminar will meet most Friday afternoons, February 1-April 12, 2019.

For application procedures, please consult the Folger Scholarly Programs website.

Monday, August 6, 2018

CFP Deadline Reminder: BHC 2019

As the summer flies by, a 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, August 3, 2018

CFP: Asia Pacific Economic Business History Conference 2019

The Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand (EHSANZ) and the All-UC Group in Economic History invite papers and proposals for sessions for the joint Asia Pacific Economic and Business History (APEBH) and All-UC Group conference to be held at the California Institute of Technology on February 8-9, 2019. The organizers welcome proposals for contributions on the conference theme, “Decline and Rise: Asia since the Industrial Revolution,” from any aspect in economic history. While submissions for papers or panels on the conference topic will be given preference, submissions on all topics in economic history are welcome.
    The conference keynote, the Noel Butlin Lecture, will be given by Philip Hoffman from the California Institute of Technology. Researchers across a broad range of related disciplines, including business and social history, are warmly welcomed; early career researchers and especially graduate students are particularly encouraged to attend. Limited financial support may be available, so please note graduate student status with submission. For the complete call for papers, please see the  EHSANZ website.
     All abstracts, papers, and proposals for sessions should be emailed by October 31, 2018, to: Florian Ploeckl ( and Greg Clark (

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Over the Counter, No. 42

News of interest from around the web:
The program for the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) annual meeting, held in June, remains available online; several panels address topics relating business, economics, and foreign relations.

George Robb can be viewed discussing his book Ladies of the Ticker at the Museum of American Finance on YouTube.

Two bits of news from MIT:
  • an interview with Anne McCants, vice-president of the International Economic History Association and chair of the World Congress, which opens in Boston this week.
  • an interview with MIT faculty member Caley Horan about her book manuscript, "Actuarial Age," which explores the cultural life of insurance and the role of risk-based thinking in shaping American institutions and daily life during the second half of the 20th century.
The program for the recent meeting of the Society for the Study of French History, held at the University of Warwick, UK, is available online. With a theme of "Political Economy and Cultures of Inequality," the meeting had several sessions of interest, including a keynote by Michael Kwass on "Capitalism and Inequality in Eighteenth-Century France: Writing History after the Great Recession."

For the blog "The Conversation," Jon Stobart reflects on "The Forgotten Grandeur of Britain's Department Stores."

From the 2018 meeting of the Economic History Society, the video of Sevket Pamuk delivering the Tawney Lecture is now available; his topic: "Uneven Development: The Economic Development of Turkey since 1820."

Saddened to report two deaths, both on July 5, 2018: Morton "Mickey" Keller, long-time faculty member at Brandeis University, is probably best known to business historians for his work Regulating a New Economy: Public Policy and Economic Change in America, 1900-1933 (1990). The departmental obituary is here.
    Ira Berlin, of the University of Maryland, was the Bancroft Prize-winning author of  Many Thousands Gone and many other notable works on the history of slavery and the slave trade. The Nation published a remembrance by Eric Foner.

The Canadian Business History Association has put video of sessions of its recent meeting, which coincided with Canada's sesquicentennial, online.

The Hagley Library and Museum has announced the acquisition of the James W. Cortada Collection of Information Technology Publications, an estimated 5,000 titles on the general subject of computers, information technology, society, the internet, and the economic and business issues involving computers from the 1940s through 2017. Processing is underway so materials can be made open to researchers as quickly as possible.

From the "Artsy" blog comes an interesting discussion by Lucy Hunter on "The Untold History of Corporations Recruiting Artists to Inspire Their Employees."

The "Knowledge@Wharton" blog recently interviewed Adam Winkler about his book We, the Corporations; both transcript and audio are available. And over at Harvard Business School, the "Working Knowledge" website featured Ai Hisano's research on "How Cellophane Changed the Way We Shop for Food."

On his "Mostly IP History" blog, Zvi Rosen resurrects Robert Fulton's 1811 steamboat patent, thought to have been lost; images (of copies) of the patent specification pages are here.

"The Junto" blog published a multi-part roundtable on Francis Spufford's 2017 novel Golden Hill, set in colonial New York City. The essays are
" 'Commerce is Trust'," by Tom Cutterham
"Golden Hill as Historical Fiction," by Jordan E. Taylor
"Courage and Cowardice?" by Hannah Farber
"Retracing Mr. Smith's Steps through Eighteenth-Century Manhattan," by Katy Lasdow
"Q&A with Francis Spufford"
For "Food + City," Jonathan Rees, author of Refrigeration Nation, writes at length about the inception of the "cold chain"--the distribution of refrigerated foods--and how it changed our diets: "Transcending Seasons: Following the Global Cold Chain."

The EBHS has made available the video of Deirdre McCloskey's keynote address at the organization's recent annual meeting in Finland; her topic was "What We Need to Know in Business and Economic History: The Conditions for Exchange-Tested Betterment."

Monday, July 30, 2018

CFP: Accounting History Review Annual Conference

The Accounting History Review Annual Conference will take place at Edge Hill University Business School on September 10-11, 2019.  According to the organizers,
This conference will build on recent scholarship in Accounting History Review that demonstrates an important and impressive shift from accounting history to accounting in history – from accounting historians to historians who examine multi-faceted social and institutional contexts through an accounting lens. . . . Theoretical, empirical and review papers are welcomed in all areas of accounting history. We encourage studies that move beyond disciplinary boundaries and engage with historians in other research areas. 
The conference format will include approximately 40 minutes for presentation and discussion in order to provide worthwhile feedback for presenters.
      Those wishing to offer papers to be considered for presentation at the conference should submit an extended abstract of their paper (not exceeding one page) by February 15, 2019, to Cheryl S. McWatters, Editor, Accounting History Review, at
     For a more complete discussion of conference aims and procedures, please see the full call for papers.
     Inquiries should be addressed to: Cheryl S. McWatters, ( or Alasdair Dobie, conference convenor and Professor of Accounting, Edge Hill Business School (

Friday, July 27, 2018

Posts of Interest from the Blogosphere

A few recent articles of interest to business and economic historians published in blogs:
On the American Philosophical Society blog, Cynthia Heider writes about "Indenture Mining: Making Pre-Industrial Tradeswomen Visible" (part 1, with part 2 to come shortly)

A recent post on the Library of Congress's "Inside Adams" blog discusses the history of quantitative graphics in "Historical Business & Economics Charts and Graphs."

On the National Archives blog "The Text Message," Elise Fariello writes at length about the usefulness of "Tax Assessment Lists of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries."

On the "Organizational History Network," Peter Miskell recaps his ABH talk on "The Content & Practice of Business History"

An early July installment of JSTOR Daily delves into "The Massive Fight over Sunday Mail," using a 1990 Richard R. John article as its source.

On SHEAR's "Panorama" blog, Priya Satia uses the research from her recent book, Empire of Guns, to inform "Empire of Guns: Arming the American Gun Debate with Insights from the History of the British Gun Trade."

On the "Early Canadian History" blog, George Colpitts writes about omissions in a Hudson's Bay Company employee's journal and their import in "What Peter Fidler Didn't Report."

On the Cambridge [University Press] Core blog, Lindsay Schakenbach Regele expands on her article from the Business History Review on "Industrial Manifest Destiny: American Firearms Manufacturing and Antebellum Expansion." [free access to the full article has expired]

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

CFP (Deadline Approaching): National Road Bicentennial Symposium

A symposium to commemorate the bicentennial of the opening of the National (or Cumberland) Road from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) will be held at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 2018. To recognize the National Road's significance and legacy, this symposium will look beyond the National Road to examine the larger role of internal improvements and transportation in United States history. Academic and public historians, graduate and undergraduate students, and independent scholars are invited to submit proposals for presentations or papers focused on the National Road, internal improvements, and United States transportation history. Alternate session formats, including roundtable discussions, film viewings, and hands-on programs, will also be considered.
     Proposals should include a 250- to 500-word abstract for the presentation and a CV/résumé. Please send all submissions to by July 31, 2018.    
    The keynote presentation will be given by Dr. John Lauritz Larson, author of Internal Improvement: National Public Works and the Promise of Popular Government in the Early United States and The Market Revolution in America.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Follow-Up: Business Historians on U.S. Trade Policy

Marc Levinson and Susan Aaronson at the U.S.
Trade Policy Congressional Briefing
In our last "Business Historians in the News," we mentioned the June congressional briefing organized by the National History Center on the history of U.S. trade policy, which featured as speakers Susan Aaronson, George Washington University, and Alfred Eckes, Jr., Ohio University; Marc Levinson of the Congressional Research Service moderated. Perspectives Daily, the successor to AHA Today, has just published a synopsis of and commentary on the event written by Dane Kennedy.
    Readers can also now see a video of the briefing on C-Span's American History TV; a written summary is available here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

PostDoc: Economic History at the University of Pennsylvania

The Howard S. Marks chair of economic history in the history department at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications for a postdoctoral fellow for the 2018-19 year (12 months), preferred start date between September 1 and October 30, 2018. The position is open to highly qualified researchers who received their Ph.D. in history, economics, or political science no more than two years prior to the start of the appointment or are about to receive it; applicants must conduct research in any field of economic history. The fellowship involves providing administrative assistance to the activities of the chair (organization of two workshops), including editorial work for the journal Capitalism and History.
    For the full announcement and application procedures, please see the position announcement on the University of Pennsylvania website. The application deadline is August 1, 2018. Questions may be directed to Marc Flandreau at N.B.: Applicants with tenure or in tenure-track positions are not eligible.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


The 25th Omohundro Institute annual conference will take place at the University of Pittsburgh on June 13-16, 2019. The program committee
invites papers that consider the relationship between the local and the global in shaping a vast early American history. Inspired by the role that local conflicts in the Pittsburgh area played in triggering the global Seven Years’ War, we particularly welcome proposals that consider the relevance of the global turn in early American history and that engage critically with geographically-bounded frames of reference (be they regional, continental, hemispheric, oceanic, or global). We further encourage proposals that creatively recognize the importance of typically marginalized subjects in the interplay between local and global events, including, but not limited to, new research on race, ethnicity, slavery, gender, sexuality, class, Native studies, environmental studies, and free and coerced labor and migration. 
For complete information on types of sessions, rules of participation, and submission details, please see the full call for papers.

Monday, July 16, 2018

EBHA 2018 Draft Program Has Been Posted

The 22nd Annual Congress of the European Business History Association (EBHA) will meet on September 6-8, 2018, in Ancona, Italy; the theme will be "The Firm and the Sea: Chains, Flows and Connections." The preliminary program has now been posted, and presenters have begun to upload their papers. In addition to the many regular sessions, the program includes a dissertation prize session as well as a keynote speech by Gelina Harlaftis on "The Relation to the Sea: Maritime Business in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea."
    For logistical details about accommodation, venues, and registration, please consult the meeting website. Note that online registration (at a reduced rate) ends on July 30, 2018.

Friday, July 13, 2018

CFP: “Development of Financial Centres in Europe”

A one-day graduate student conference on “The development of financial centres in Europe, 1300–1700” will be held at Queen’s College, Cambridge, on September 27, 2018, to honor the work of the late Peter Spufford. According to the call for papers:
The aim of this conference is to bring together young scholars to reflect on state-of-art scholarship on this subject, and explore new hypotheses on the characters, inner dynamics and evolution of financial centres in Europe. The conference’s organization therefore invites submissions for presentations. . . . Papers directly connected to any financial, economic, monetary or numismatic themes explored by Peter Spufford in his oeuvre and comparative approaches are especially welcome. 
Interested graduate students are asked to send an abstract for a 20-minute presentation (max. 400 words, including contact details and affiliation) and an academic CV (max. 2 pages) to Jacopo Sartori at The deadline for proposals is August 12, 2018.
      Subject to availability, accommodation will be provided for speakers, and an effort will be made to subsidize travel costs. The conference has received support from the Economic History Society, the Royal Historical Society, the Centre for Financial History (Cambridge), and Queens’ College (Cambridge).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

CHORD 2018 Program and Abstracts Now Posted

The Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution (CHORD) will hold its annual meeting at Wolverhampton City Campus on September 13, 2018. The theme of the meeting is "Retailing and Distribution in the Eighteenth Century." The program, accompanied by abstracts of the papers, has now been posted. On-line registration is open; please consult the meeting website for additional information. Questions may be addressed to Laura Ugolini at

Monday, July 9, 2018

June 2018: Business Historians in the News

Recent examples of business historians in the general media:
Catching up with several author interviews of interest on "The Page 99 Test":
  • Amanda PorterfieldCorporate Spirit: Religion and the Rise of the Modern Corporation
  • Adam WinklerWe the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights
  • Harvey G. CohenWho's in the Money? The Great Depression Musicals and Hollywood's New Deal
  • Michael Zakim, Accounting for Capitalism: The World the Clerk Made
And others in The History section of "The New Books Network" podcasts:
  • André Magnan, When Wheat Was King: The Rise and Fall of the Canada-UK Grain Trade
  • Christy Ford Chapin, Ensuring America's Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System
  • Anna Zeide, Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry
  • Fahad Bishara, A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950
In a brief article, the Financial Times features work by Robert Allen and Jane Humphries in "UK economists look to industrial revolution for productivity hint." [may be behind paywall]

Gavin Benke writes about "Elon Musk, Enron, and the Imperial Corporation" on the "Tropics of Meta blog. He also has a post on the Penn Press blog on the topic "Corporate Strategy and the Politics of Climate Change," drawing out research from his new book, Risk and Ruin: Enron and the Culture of American Capitalism.

On the "Public Books" blog, Mehrsa Baradaran is interviewed about her book, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, in a post entitled "Black Banks Can't Fix Racial Capitalism."

In the Washington Post's "Made by History" series, Elizabeth Tandy Shermer argues that "The dissent in Janus shows that liberal justices are finally on the side of the working class." [may be behind paywall]

For a late June congressional briefing organized by the National History Center on the history of U.S. trade policy, the speakers were Susan Aaronson, George Washington University, and Alfred Eckes, Jr., Ohio University. Marc Levinson of the Congressional Research Service moderated. The video of the briefing likely will be posted here shortly.

Friday, July 6, 2018

CFP: “Colonial Cities in Global Perspective”

The Global History Network, the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, the Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, and the Institute of Advanced Study in Saint-Louis seek papers for a conference on “Colonial Cities in Global Perspective,” to be held in Saint-Louis, Senegal, from December 10-12, 2018. According to the call for papers:
We seek papers that will examine coastal colonial cities in a comparative framework. Appropriate topics include patterns of settlement and spatial organization; administration, policing, sanitation and evolving economic profiles; labor and workers’ collective action; colonial cities’ position in global trade networks and their importance to the expansion of capitalism; trade links between urban and rural domains of production and consumption; formal and informal relations between ethnic communities; patterns of leadership and urban organization; distinctive cultural production; and historical legacies for post-colonial states.
For a detailed discussion of the conference theme, please consult the full call for papers. Interested scholars should submit a single combined doc or pdf file including an abstract of no more than 500 words, along with a brief CV, to with the subject line “ColonialCities2018” by August 1, 2018. The abstract can be in French or English, though we prefer English. Please include your paper title, name, and affiliation in the body of the email.
     Advanced research students as well as senior scholars are invited to apply for the conference. Travel costs will be covered for all invited presenters (one author only of co-authored papers).
    A French version of the call for papers may be found here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

CFP: GHI's “Transmission of Financial Knowledge”

The German Historical Institute (GHI) has issued a call for papers for a conference on “The Transmission of Financial Knowledge in Historical Perspective, 1840–1940,” to be held at the GHI in Washington, D.C., on March 8-9, 2019. The convenors are Nicholas Osborne (Ohio University) and Atiba Pertilla (GHI Washington). The call for papers states:
. . . “financial knowledge” encompasses how people teach, learn, and think about a variety of financial behaviors, from saving and investing to borrowing and spending. The conference takes as its starting point the idea that the transmission of financial knowledge, whether concepts like “family budgets,” practices such as the use of “pin money,” or folk wisdom about the nature of risk-taking, takes multiple forms, from everyday conversation and personal correspondence to mass journalism and works of fiction. . . .
The organizers seek to bring together studies that address “how financial knowledge (whether accurate, false, or dubious) is promulgated and circulates at the local, national, and international levels, as well as its role in the creation of the modern economic order” from the global financial crises of the Panic of 1837 to the Great Depression.
   Scholars interested in presenting a chapter- or article-length paper at the conference are invited to send a brief abstract of 250–300 words as well as a short CV by August 1, September 4, 2018, to Susanne Fabricius ( by email with the subject line “Financial Knowledge.” For more details, please see the complete call for papers.

Monday, July 2, 2018

SHOT 2018 Preliminary Program Available

The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) will hold its 2018 annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 11-14. The theme of the meeting will be "Gateways: Passages, Openings, and Enclosures in the History of Technology." The preliminary program is now available on the meeting website.
   Registration is now open and may be completed online; note that fees will increase after August 31, 2018. For more details, please consult the SHOT website.

Friday, June 29, 2018

WEHC 2018 Update: Special Sessions and Plenaries

The final program of the World Economic History Congress, meeting in Boston on July 29-August3, 2018, is now up on the WEHC website. In addition to the many sessions, there will be three plenaries (plus the IEHA General Meeting):
  • Sevket Pamuk will speak at the opening plenary on "Waves of Globalization and the Economic Historian."
  • Thomas Piketty will give a keynote lecture on "Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict."
  • Jane Humphries and Claudia Goldin will speak at the closing plenary on "The Role of Women in Economic Growth": Humphries on "From the Wings to Centre Stage: Women and Economic Growth and Structural Change in Europe during the Pre-Industrial and Industrial Eras," and Goldin on "A Long Road: The Quest for Career and Family." Jan De Vries will serve as discussant.
The Congress will also include special sessions on specific book titles, dissertation competition sessions, and two poster sessions. The program brochure provides a great deal of additional information about the Congress, including links to the abstracts for each session. For complete Congress details, please see the WEHC website. Note that pre-conference registration ends on July 15.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

NEPHIS Review of E&S Article and Free Access

This week in the NEPHIS blog, Helena Varkkey (University of Malaya) comments on "The Emergence of an Export Cluster: Traders and Palm Oil in Early Twentieth-Century Southeast Asia" by Valeria Giacomin (Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in Business History), Enterprise and Society 19, (June 2018): 272-308. The editors of Enterprise & Society have made this article freely available for a limited time; the link is also available on the NEPHIS blog site.

Monday, June 25, 2018

CFP: Economic History Society 2019

The 2019 conference of the Economic History Society (EHS) will be held on April 5-7 at Queen's University Belfast. The conference program committee welcomes proposals on all aspects of economic and social history covering a wide range of periods and countries, and particularly welcomes papers of an interdisciplinary nature. The committee invites proposals for individual papers, as well as for entire sessions of 1.5-2 hours duration.
    Papers should be submitted online via the link on the meeting website. For additional information, including details for submitting proposals for the "new researcher" sessions, please consult the EHS meeting website. The deadline for both regular and "new researcher" proposals is September 3, 2018.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Digital Resource: “Runaway Slaves in Britain” Database

The "Runaway Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Britain" project has created a searchable database of well over eight hundred newspaper advertisements placed by masters and owners seeking the capture and return of enslaved and bound people who had escaped. Many were of African descent, though a small number were from the Indian sub-continent and a few were Indigenous Americans. The principal sources for this project are English and Scottish newspapers published between 1700 and 1780. Although some have been digitized, the poor quality of surviving newsprint makes digital text searching unreliable, so project researchers have surveyed thousands of newspaper issues in archives all over Britain, some in their original print form as well as many more on microfilm or digital form. The database contains full transcriptions of the advertisements, and when possible photographic reproductions.
     The project is a product of the Department of History at the University of Glasgow, headed by Simon Newman; participating members include Stephen Mullen, Nelson Mundell, and Roslyn Chapman.