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: http://thebhc.org/edwin-j-perkins-1939-2018.

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: http://eh.net/eha/call-for-papers-3/. 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.