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Showing posts from March, 2018

Digital Resources: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RR at the Newberry and CARLI

The Newberry Library in Chicago has announced a major revision to its policy regarding the re-use of collection images: "images derived from collection items are now available to anyone for any lawful purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial, without licensing or permission fees to the library." (Note, however, that "users remain responsible for determining whether material is in the public domain, whether it is protected by copyright law or other restrictions, or whether a particular activity constitutes fair use.")      This news should encourage researchers to explore the 1.7 million high-resolution Newberry images currently available online .  One place to start is the digital exhibit, "CB&Q: Building an Empire."  Additional CB&Q materials are available at the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) site, where one will find "Daily Life along the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad," based on

CFP (Book): “Buying and Selling the Civil War”

Caroline E. Janney of Purdue University and James Marten of Marquette University have issued a call for proposals for essays for an anthology with the working title “Buying and Selling the Civil War.” Each essay will provide a case study of a product, experience, or idea related to remembrance of the war; of products acknowledging the outcomes of the war; or of products marketed specifically to Americans who participated in the war (veterans, for instance, or widows). According to the editors: Authors will be asked to identify not only the products being marketed and consumed, but also the meaning of those products: How did sellers “pitch” their products, and what did buyers believe they were buying? Among the possibilities are status and recognition in their communities; a sense of redemption for war-time failures; ways to connect family histories to national history; forms of investment in the future; ways to recover from war-time traumas; hopes of making a political statement. 

Online Resource: Digital Hagley

The Hagley Digital Archives site contains an enormous amount of curated material on a wide variety of topics. From the American Brewer trade journal, to "History of Kevlar" oral history interviews, to "Photographs and ephemera on the history of fatty materials," to Lukens Steel Company photographs, to U.S. Chamber of Commerce videos, holdings spread across the field of business history and encompass all media types. In many cases, not all of the materials in a collection have been digitized, but the user is provided with links to descriptions of the full collection, and, if one exists. to a finding aid. Within finding aids, digitized materials are linked back to the Digital Archives.     In addition to the materials organized at Hagley Digital Archives, the Library has developed many focused web exhibits based on its holdings; a list can be found here .

Digital Resource: DPLA Exhibit on the Erie Canal

The Digital Public Library has recently released a new exhibit, "Two Hundred Years on the Erie Canal." Curated by Heidi Ziemer and Dan Ward of the Western New York Library Resources Council, in partnership with the Empire State Digital Network, the web exhibit offers commentary by the curators as well as illustrations of the site's themes, which include construction, commerce, culture, and several more.     Readers looking for more information might like to visit the "Erie Canal" site maintained by Frank E. Sadowski, Jr.; he has collected a massive amount of useful material--maps, images, documents, and links to other sites.

Digital Resource: New York Slavery Records

On February 1, 2018, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice released the New York Slavery Records Index, an online database containing more than 35,000 records. The database is a searchable compilation of records that identify individual enslaved persons and their owners, beginning as early as 1525 and ending during the Civil War. The data come from census records, slave trade transactions, cemetery records, birth certifications, manumissions, ship inventories, newspaper accounts, private narratives, legal documents, and many other sources. The index will continue to grow as the team of John Jay College professors and students locates and assembles data from additional sources.     The site is accompanied by several essays, as well as a video introduction that explains the compilation and uses of the database; there are also detailed search instructions and explanations of the tags and data sources. The faculty co-directors of the project are Judy-Lynne Peters and Ned Benton.

CFP: African Economic History Network Annual Meeting

The African Economic History Network (AEHN) will hold its next annual meeting at the University of Bologna, Italy, on October 12-13, 2018. The theme of the meeting will be "Transitions in African Economic History." Papers on all aspects of African economic history are welcome, but preference will be given to those that pertain to the conference theme. Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted to no later than May 15, 2018 .     A small number of grants will be available for graduate students and faculty from Africa; those submitting proposals who would like to be considered should indicate that in their submission.

Historical GIS: Urban Transition Project

The Urban Transition Historical GIS Project  uses historical census data to document the state of U.S. cities from the end of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. The site explains that "These were the decades of America’s urban transition, fed by rapid growth of industry and large-scale immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe that was directed primarily into cities. In 1880 nearly half of total employment was in agriculture, but this share dropped to about 25% by 1920, and by this time about half of the population lived in urban areas." Using the North American Population Project's  100% digital transcription of records from the 1880 Census, the "Urban Transitions" project has developed several additional resources to make possible analysis of social patterns at the level of individuals and households while also taking into account information about their communities.     Although the site is technical, both in the descriptions of d

Over the Counter: Issue No. 39

Some notes on items of interest from around the Web: JSTOR Daily is a site that presents short essays on topics derived from journal articles in its database. Some recent examples relevant to business historians: "How Consumerism Sold Democracy to Postwar Germany" "How 17th-Century Unmarried Women Helped Shape Capitalism" "Madeira, the Island That Helped Invent Capitalism" "Sex and the Supermarket" Diana Heredia López’s exhibit using the Florentine Codex, "Of Merchants and Nature," focuses on Nahua agave, cotton, figs, and gourds and the fabrics and containers they engendered, The History Channel cites George Robb's Ladies of the Ticker  (University of Illinois Press, 2017) in a brief article titled "Decades Before They Had the Vote, Women Launched Their Own Stock Exchange"  Unhappy news for business historians in the wake of last fall's Santa Rosa fires: More than 100 boxes of writings, correspondence

Three Journal CFP: Business History

The journal Business History is planning a number of special issues; there are currently three calls for manuscript submissions: 1. Bank-Industry versus Stock Market-Industry Relationships : A Business History Approach (submission deadline: March 31, 2018 ) Guest editors are José L. García-Ruiz and Michelangelo Vasta. The articles initially selected for this special issue will be presented in a workshop that will take place in Madrid in June 2018; the final selection of papers will be the result of this workshop. 2. Business-Government relations and national economic models : how do varieties of capitalism emerge and develop over time? (submission deadline: April 30, 2018 ) The guest editors are Niall MacKenzie, Andrew Perchard, Neil Forbes, and Christopher Miller. 3. Noblemen-Entrepreneurs in the Nineteenth Century : Investments, Innovation, Management and Networks (submission deadline: May 31, 2018 ) The guest editors are Silvia A. Conca Messina and Takeshi Abe. Each of t

CFP: Business History Society of Japan 2018

The 54th Congress of the Business History Society of Japan (BHSJ) will be held in Kyoto on September 29-30, 2018. The theme of the meeting will be "Merging Methods and Approaches: History, Social Science and Business Historians." To further enhance international exchange, the BHSJ organizes English sessions every two years, which will take place concurrently with the regularly scheduled Japanese sessions at the annual meeting. According to the call for papers: In Japan, business history was institutionalized at faculties of social science, and so the use of social scientific concepts and inquiries became an essential element of the discipline, fostering a rich tradition of detailed empirical studies in business and industrial history. However, in recent decades, as a result of the institutionalization of business history as its own discipline, the dialog with social scientists has subsided somewhat. The 2018 international session offers the opportunity to consider the

Winter Edition: Business Historians in the News

Links to business and economic historians in the news: The PBS "American Experience"  episode on the Gilded Age features many scholars from the business history community: among others, Steve Fraser, Susie Pak, Richard John, Julia Ott, Noam Maggor, and Richard White. For the transcript of historians' commentary, see here . A Boston Review forum titled "To Remake the World: Slavery, Racial Capitalism, and Justice" features an essay by Walter Johnson and several responses from a number of historians, including Caitlin Rosenthal, who asks "How does the history of slavery look if we make more use of the language of capitalism?" The entire forum is open access. In a recent essay for the "Humanities Moments" blog of the National Humanities Center, Edward J. Balleisen writes about "Story-Making and the Fault Lines of American Capitalism." In a contribution to Bloomberg View, Stephen Mihm discusses toll roads: "Privatizing

CFP: Hagley Conference: “Seeing Like a Capitalist”

A call for proposals has been issued for “Seeing Like a Capitalist: Histories of Commercial Surveillance,” a conference sponsored by the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society  to be held on November 8–9, 2018, at the Hagley Museum and Library. According to the convenors: we invite proposals that explore the history of commercial surveillance in the United States, from settlement to the present. These (non-state) surveillance activities 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 long history of commercial surveillance serves to illuminate the precursors, continuities, and logic of today’s “surveillance capitalism.” The conference was initiated by Josh Lauer (University of New Hampshire), and he is joined on the program committee by Roger Horowitz (Hagley Museum and Library) and Ken Li

New Books of Interest: Winter 2018 Edition

A listing of books of interest to business and economic historians, published in January and February  2018 (plus a few earlier titles we missed): Alexander Charles Baillie,  Call of Empire: From the Highlands to Hindustan  (McGill-Queen's University Press, November 2017) Sven Beckert and Christine Desan, eds., American Capitalism: New Histories   (Columbia University Press, 2018) Gillian Cookson,  The Age of Machinery: Engineering the Industrial Revolution  (Boydell and Brewer,  February 2018) [straight to paper] William Deringer,  Calculated Values: Finance, Politics, and the Quantitative Age  (Harvard University Press, February 2018) Robert Hunt Ferguson,  Remaking the Rural South: Interracialism, Christian Socialism, and Cooperative Farming in Jim Crow Mississippi  (University of Georgia Press, January 2018) Margot Finn and Kate Smith, eds.,  The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857  (University College London Press, February 2018) Joshua B. Freeman,  Behemoth: