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A letter from BHC Secretary-Treasurer Dr. Roger Horowitz to BHC 2020 attendees and BHC members

March 25, 2020

Dear Friends of the BHC,

I am writing to all those who registered and planned to participate in the 2020 BHC annual
meeting in Charlotte, as well as to BHC members. Apologies if you receive multiple copies of
this email as those lists overlap.

As we all know, the meeting did not go as planned. Many people were unable to travel due to a
myriad of travel restrictions imposed by governments and employers, and some who came had to
turn around and go back home earlier than anticipated. Based on my count of the pre-registration
packets, about 100 people came out of 280 who had registered in advance. Since some had to
leave early, and others arrived while the meeting was underway, we probably had no more than
50 present at any one time.

Yet, despite everything, we had a credible meeting. On very short notice, the hotel’s audio-visual
supplier (PSAV) installed technology in nine rooms that allowed us to use Zoom to facilitate
online presentations and participation. The team managing the conference – Ed Balleisen (BHC
President), Mark Wilson (Local Arrangements Chair), Ben Waterhouse (Program Chair), Shane
Hamilton (BHC Web Administrator), Paula de la Cruz-Fernández (BHC Web Editor), and of
course Carol Lockman -- did an amazing job adapting the program under considerable pressure.

In the end, a majority of the panels took place, almost all with some presenters “Zooming” and
others in the meeting room–with an audience that included some present physically and others
offering their comments via our online connection. In the session I chaired, we crossed back and
forth across the digital divide, not seamlessly, but sufficiently smooth enough to allow robust
presentations and discussion. In the Krooss dissertation prize session, we had three pre-recorded
presentations and one delivered in person, giving those in the room and following online the
opportunity to appreciate the best work underway by recent business history PhDs. When Ed
Balleisen made his presidential address, we had 40 people in the room and another 40 online
taking in his thoughts about the value of collaborative scholarship.

We took some hits, though. While our prize committees did their work, few recipients were
present at the awards banquet to receive the personal recognition they richly deserved (See the prize winners here, Hagley Prize finalists, and in the BHC website.) And, much as the hotel did an amazing job
accommodating us, we still lost money at the meeting. A lot of money. While the accounts are
not all sorted out at this time, I estimate we are at least $20,000 in the red and probably more.
The main factors behind this deficit are rental of the equipment that allowed us to offer online
access to presenters and audiences, and meal refunds to those unable to attend that we still had to
pay for due to contractual commitments. (Please email me if you want more details.)

For these reasons, I ask you to make a contribution to defray the extra costs associated with
holding this meeting. As I told the small group at the awards banquet, I am proud of the BHC for
not quitting under very adverse circumstances, and making it possible through an extra effort
(and an extra expense) to permit the intellectual interchange we always hope for to take place at
the 2020 meeting in Charlotte. I heard some great papers (virtually and in person), talked to
emerging scholars who told me they will be back at future meetings (including 2021 in Detroit!),
and visited with the BHC regulars who did all they could to attend.

We pulled it off! Now please support this effort with your contribution. We have set up an online
contribution page on Eventbrite where you can pay via credit card. If you have a large (and most
welcome!) contribution that you would prefer to make via check or bank transfer, just email me
at rh@udel.edu, and we will make the necessary arrangements once Carol Lockman and I return
to Hagley. We are currently working from home while Delaware’s state of emergency is in
place.

If you decide to make a contribution to help the BHC defray the extra expenses of the Charlotte
meeting, you can pay online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2020-bhc-annual-meeting-contribution-registration-100803931272. This link also is available on the 2020 meeting page,
https://thebhc.org/2020-bhc-meeting.

As ever, my thanks for your support of the Business History Conference.

Stay safe!

Dr. Roger Horowitz
BHC Secretary-Treasurer
rh@udel.edu

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