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 November 10, 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."