Abstracts of Annual Meeting Papers

Annual Meeting Author(s) Title Abstract
2020 BHC Meeting Bruno Aidar The Sponsors of the Crown: The Shareholders of the Bank of Brazil in the Portuguese Empire, 1808-1821

The foundation of the Bank of Brazil on October 12th, 1808 was crucial for the rebuilding of the Portuguese monarchy in Brazil and even for the first years of the Brazilian independent nation. It represents a singular case in the banking history of the American continent in the early 19th Century, only preceded by the Bank of the United States, created by Alexander Hamilton in 1791. Amongst the Spanish American independent nations, the projects of the first national banks appeared lately at the beginning of the 1820s. While Argentina achieved the foundation of the Bank of Buenos Aires in 1822, they proved to be unsuccessful in Mexico and Peru. The establishment of Brazilian bank was also a landmark in the Portuguese financial and monetary history, considering the lack of previous banks in the kingdom. The importance of the Bank of Brazil was recently recognized by scholars, but we have several points that demand further research. In spite of being a quoted primary source, the general list of the shareholders of the Bank of Brazil, published in 1821, is an exquisite document for the study of the regulation and configuration of the bank shareholders, an objective intended by this paper. As an undeniable economic and political pole of the Portuguese monarchy, the bank revealed a microcosm of the relations established between the Crown and its elites during this critical age for the fate of Portuguese empire as well as the tensions of implementing a mercantile enterprise in an Old Regime and slavery framework.

2020 BHC Meeting C. Edoardo Altamura From Zero to Hero: Brazil and the World Bank Before and After the Military Coup of 1964

Between 1959 and 1964, the democratic government of Brazil did not receive any support from the World Bank, not a single project was funded and not a dime entered the country. The Bank insisted that the lack of project funding was due to the country’s inability to keep inflation at bay, to devise credible projects and to stabilise the exchange rate.
In 1964, the democratic government of President Joao Goulart was replaced by a right-wing military government that would stay in power for 20 years.
Despite the supposed neutrality of the World Bank, the attitude towards the new regime was markedly different. The President of the World Bank and several officials started paying regular visits to the country and established a friendly and collaborative relationship with the economic team of the regime. Money entered the country at a fast pace and by 1970 Brazil was the biggest receiver of capital from the World Bank.
This paper relies on a wide set of recently disclosed material from the archives of the World Bank and large multinational commercial banks to illustrate the changing relationship between the World Bank and Brazil in the years preceding the military coup and after the military takeover.
The article will question the supposed economic neutrality of the World Bank by showing that the Bank saw the military regime through its own ideological lens superimposing its own narratives on the country and ignoring conflicting evidence. Although the Bank did nothing to hide its ideological preferences, it never clearly supported the regime either. Nonetheless, it required a set of economic measures in order to unlock its credits that could only be implemented by an authoritarian regime.

2020 BHC Meeting Bamidele Aly The Fate of Austro-hungarian and German Businessmen and Firms in Nigeria During WWI

Upon the start of WWI, Austrian-Hungarian and German firms were flourishing in Southern Nigeria, as their products were well appreciated by the indigenous population and they proposed favourable payment facilities vs. their British and French competitors. Prior to the British colonisation, the Reichsmark and the Thaler were favoured to the detriment of the British Sterling.
At the eve of WWI, Germany was an important trading partner of Nigeria. Germany became an enemy to Great Britain and all its colonies overseas and the German and Austrian businesses became “enemy companies”. Many of these businesses were forcibly sold at a loss in 1916 or personal and business assets of these nationals were seized and confiscated. In that respect, the Allied Powers cooperated to block any trade and business transactions from and into the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany. After WWI, some businessmen resumed their activities in Nigeria thanks to the retrocession of their lost properties or returned to the nations of birth.
By using historical sources found in Germany, Nigeria and in the UK such as colonial archives, official government documents and local newspapers written in English from Nigeria and the UK, and in German from Austria and Germany, this paper proposes to understand the fate of Austro-Hungarian and German businessmen, citizens and firms during WWI in Nigeria. First, we will discover why the German presence was so important in Nigeria ante bellum on the back of an auspicious operating environment. Second, we will analyse the process of business and property loss by German and Austro-Hungarian subjects as soon as the United Kingdom declared war to Germany and the Austrian Empire and if these business activities of these firms in Nigeria were replaced by the English and the Allies. Lastly, we will discover what happened post bellum to these firms and citizens.

2020 BHC Meeting Rolv Petter Amdam, Gabriel R. G. Benito, Birgitte Grøgaard Interactions Between Academia and Business on Internationalization: Teaching Cases on Multinational Enterprises in US Business Schools, 1955-1964

In the 1950s and 60s, US firms became more international. Parallel to this process, the academic community started to develop educational programs and research that aimed at supporting the internationalization process (Wilkins, 1974). Raymond Vernon’s research project on the multinational enterprise at Harvard Business School from 1965, and the new journal (Columbia) Journal of World Business from the same year, are some of the initiatives in the US that contributed to the creation of the new discipline International Business (IB) (Shenkar, 2004).
This paper asks: How did US business schools interact with American business in their internationalization process? The paper is based on a source of data that has remained untapped. In 1964, the Ford Foundation financed a project to gather information about all teaching cases written from 1955 to 1964 that were relevant for developing educational programs on multinationals in US business schools. We have created a database based on information from the 483 cases that the project collected. Faculty members at US business schools authored 176 cases, and 307 were written at foreign business schools in 17 different countries.
The cases are highly germane expressions of what the academics perceived as being relevant for the internationalization of US business in a formative period of IB. The cases reflect how business schools collected information from cooperating business schools internationally to support the internationalization process. The cases supported to a high degree the geographical direction of the internationalization process. Further, we show that access to information from corporations’ internationalization experiences either directly or via cooperating business schools abroad was crucial for the development of IB. Content wise, the cases were heterogeneous but give indications on the construction of the new discipline. Academia’s impact on firms’ internationalization practice is more complex and nuanced.

2020 BHC Meeting Marina Ampudia New Spatialities of Resistance in the World of Work. Case Study of the Graphic Company Chilavert

During the 2000s there was the emptying and dismantling of companies and with it the growth of unemployment in Argentina. This scenario has as background the transformations of the accumulation regime during the 70s and the triumph of neoliberalism with its advances and consolidations in the 90s. The workers find in this scenario forms of resistance in the margins of precariousness that the world of Job prints them. New resistance spatialities shape the space of companies, factories and work. The company is taken and occupied by the workers in response to the possibility of closure. They circulate in the world of work collective knowledge of occupation, of dispute to the State, about forms of legality and organization, configuring various experiences of Recovered Companies with productive, educational and cultural spaces / times that build new collective subjectivities in the world of work. In this paper we propose to problematize and interpret the new subjectivities that are generated in spaces / times of self-management of companies without employers.

2020 BHC Meeting Hernando Arbelo Business Strategies in the Field of Education in Development Argentina (1943-1973): Factory-schools, Management and Financing of State Education

The historiographic studies on businessmen and companies of the last decades have revalued the study of specific cases to analyze, among others, the relations between employers and workers in the manufacturing space, the forms of extra-economic domination and the workers' resistance. They have also proposed to observe businessmen as a lobby and lobby group in their relations with the State. In these new perspectives, however, little has been studied in the field of relations between entrepreneurs and education despite the close relationship that has been, especially since the intensification of the industrialization process in Argentina registered since the 1930s. In reality, businessmen deployed various strategies in the educational field since even before that period. The main problem was the provision of skilled labor, mainly operators and technicians, for the growing industry and the inability of the technical education offered by the State to solve it. However, there were background ideological and political issues that encouraged such initiatives. In this work we present, analyze and systematize these strategies and some of their results. They varied in the decades under study since the creation of educational establishments in the workshops and factories, many of them created by leading companies in the metallurgical field that we study here, to the management and financing of technical education from the creation of specific organizations such as the National Commission for Learning and Vocational Guidance (CNAOP) and the National Council for Technical Education (CONET). For this exercise we use sources little used in previous works, such as those produced by these organizations and others that were shaping the developmental policies implemented by governments in that period. In this way, we intend to shed light on another of the ways in which businessmen related, not without tensions and conflicts, to the State and the workers.

2020 BHC Meeting Erik Baker The New Conservatism: Peter Drucker Discovers Entrepreneurship

Few individuals have done more to popularize the notion of “entrepreneurship” in the United States than Peter Drucker. An explicit emphasis on entrepreneurship, however, arose relatively late in Drucker’s thinking. The central focus of Drucker’s first publications was the promotion of social cohesion and what he called the “plant community.” I show here that Drucker turned to the figure of the “innovative” entrepreneur starting in the 1950s, in response to broad cultural concern in that decade with automation and the possible advent of a “post-industrial” society. Intellectuals as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse, and C.L.R. James wondered openly if there would be any work left in the automated economy of the future. The concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation allowed Drucker to characterize the kind of work that automation could never touch, what he called “knowledge work.” Entrepreneurial knowledge work, according to Drucker, was a process of ceaseless learning, adaptation, and innovation, requiring the worker to identify themselves on a subjective level with their work. It was a modern version of pre-industrial craft work, in a metaphor Drucker deployed habitually. This personal stance immunized knowledge work against automation, but it also configured knowledge workers primarily as individuals -- miniature entrepreneurs -- rather than members of a plant community. In conclusion, I suggest that the vision of plant community and the idea of knowledge work were nonetheless both expressions of Drucker’s underlying politically conservative conviction that it was the responsibility of managers to avoid labor unrest by securing workers’ affective identification with their work and workplace. Workers’ cooperation with each other, for Drucker, was always instrumental to the goal of workers’ cooperation with management, a goal that later seemed to be served just as effectively by the creation of opportunities for entrepreneurial knowledge work.

2020 BHC Meeting Edward (Ted) Beatty, Israel Solares Measuring the Expansion of Anglo-American Mining Engineers into the World, 1874-1929

The paper presents the result of an analysis of a database of tens of thousands of records of graduates of U.S. mining schools, their membership in the American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME), their career trajectories, including the mining and metallurgical companies for whom they worked, their job categories, their global locations of employment, and their interactions through professional journals. We built the database by mining data with OCR software: lists of members of the AIME, directories of mining corporations in the U.S., Great Britain and Mexico, alumni lists from eight mining schools, and the index for the volumes of the Engineering and Mining Journal. The mining, cleaning, analysis and visualization of the data use Digital Humanities techniques and the full database accounts for over half a million entries of information of over 22 thousand individuals and organizations.
This data allows us to produce a richly detailed, descriptive, and dynamic portrait of the production and global diffusion of mining expertise during this critical era, quantifying the scale of production of engineering expertise, mapping the scope and direction of its global diffusion, and identifying patterns in the development of nodes, connections, and networks which bound together this globalized community of knowledge and expertise. The results suggest that the professionalization of engineering expertise was decidedly not bounded by national characteristics but was fundamentally shaped by its global reach. Moreover, engineers played a far more central role in shaping the organizational structure and management strategy of the modern corporation than it is conventionally argued. Finally, the expansion of Anglo-American mining expertise had profound consequences for the role of locally trained engineers in their countries and the subsequent development of domestic engineering capacity around the world.

2020 BHC Meeting Laurent Beduneau-Wang The Evaluation of Public-Private Collaboration in Water Management in the Paris’ Suburb (1923-2017): from Discretion to Publicizing

In 1923, the Water Syndicate of the Paris’ suburb was created to ensure the management of water on behalf of 132 municipalities. It has delegated operational management to the “Compagnie Générale des Eaux” (CGE), called Veolia today. Thus, the collaboration between the Syndicate and Veolia has reflected the need to mix political and technical abilities. Over the first 70 years of the contract, the legitimacy to delegate water service to a private company was not really challenged publicly. Even if negotiations and conflicts could be hard politically, citizens were not involved directly. Water management service was perceived as a discrete and technical issue.
In the mid-nineties, after diverse scandals, which involved politicians and water industry in France, multiple stakeholders and the media began to question the collaboration between public and private organizations publicly. To regain legitimacy, from 1995, Veolia encouraged the Syndicate to agree with the necessity to obtain certifications, especially related to customer services. As of 1997, it ensued that performance indicators to manage water services began to multiply – strongly.
The paper argues that the dyadic collaboration between the Syndicate and Veolia have made emerged a third player, formerly silent, the client. In the absence of a national regulatory agency to oversee water industry in France, it has been invoked as a figure to regulate the collaboration between the two historical partners.
This paper mainly relies on archives frotm Veolia, from the Water Syndicate (SEDIF), from external institutions (banks, stock exchange, the Academy of Medicine, municipalities). To ensure robust triangulation, the author have conducted 100 interviews inside and outside Veolia and, from 2012 to 2017, he spent, one day a week in Veolia as an observer. The combination of primary and secondary sources and, previous historical works by historians allowed us to triangulate collected information.

2020 BHC Meeting Gavin Benke How Imagining “the Future” Blurred the Lines Between Business and Government in the 1960s and 1970s

This paper explores how a wide-ranging dialogue about “the future” helped American business managers rethink the relationship between businesses, government, and consumers in the 1960s and 1970s. During these decades, both politicians and business executives became concerned about managing a world that seemed to be changing in dramatic ways. As a 1968 General Electric report put it, the world was in a period of “accelerating change” that would “hasten the obsolescence of traditional political, economic, and ideological boundaries.” For business executives, the emerging future was presenting businesses with both new opportunities and challenges. As leaders in both business and government contributed to publications such as The Futurist and attended events like Stanford Research Institute’s International Industrial Conferences, they concluded that new demands being placed on corporations were blurring the lines between business and government. Drawing on archival material from the Institute for the Future, the Stanford Research Institute, the Nixon Administration, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, I argue that this preoccupation with the “the future” influenced both policy debates and a broader public’s understanding of the corporation’s role in the world economy.

2020 BHC Meeting Jennifer Boettcher ZombieList to Track Historic Business Sources: A Collaborative Crowd-sourced Project

Powered by crowdsourcing, the ZombieList tracks the status and format of core business titles’ content, as well as whether the source is alive or reincarnated or gone. We build the ZombieList to support historical research. What were the key contemporaneous sources in business for historical context? How far back do title of the source go? Does this content still exist in another format or different name? Who owns the rights? What should we preserve? There are about 20,000 titles that have to be reviewed from core business bibliographies used in the education of business librarian since 1949.
The ZombieList team is harvesting the titles listed in the core business bibliographies and tracks them to their earliest editions, through changes in names, publishers, and formats, then confirms their status as of 2020.
The presentation will include the background and status of the ZombieList. It will also reveal the challenges and opportunities of assembling a team, introducing conference participants to different organizational tools like Zotero, Google Sheets, WordPress, Listservs, and library catalogs, as well as to techniques for training and motivating a team.
An important goal and outcome of ZombieList project is to encourage librarians, researchers, archivists, and historians cultivating a culture of awareness when managing heritage collections of business sources by knowing the titles, identifying where preservation copies of those titles reside, and working with monographs and other formats. It all starts with capturing the core business titles and revealing their status using the ZombieList.
To learn more about the ZombieList go to https://boettcher.georgetown.domains/HisBusColl/

2020 BHC Meeting Bram Bouwens, Eric Godelier Cross Border Merger: Guarantee of Failure? The Cases of Renault-Nissan and Air France-KLM

Since the 1960s, mergers and acquisitions – and especially cross border alliances - have been associated with lowered productivity, higher absenteeism, worse strike records and lower innovation power rather than higher profitability (Kitching 1967; Cartwright and Cooper 1996; Renneboog 2019). Some economists even argued that 50 to 80 percent of all cross border mergers and acquisitions are considered to be financially unsuccessful and do not create any value (Schenk 2008). Nevertheless, the numbers of international alliances, mergers and acquisitions remained and are still high (UNCTAD data 2019).
Many economists and other social scientists have tried to fathom this paradox. Why are so few international alliances efficacious and valuable for different stakeholders? In particular, mergers between firms that originate in different business systems were more complicated than the amalgamation of firms with similar institutional and cultural background (Van Oss 2009). In most cases, these recipes did not result in a major breakthrough in the success-failure ratio of cross border alliances or to a decrease of the number of international contracts closed.
This paper compares two cross border alliances (of firms operating in different cultural and institutional settings) that were rather successful. Instead of looking at failure, we analyze two cross border alliances that were at the beginning efficacious. Unfortunately, the companies were not able to continue their success and, over time, tensions between the partners arose that had even the potential to jeopardize the cooperation. The first case deals with the alliance of the French automobile producer Renault and its Japanese competitor Nissan that came about in 1999. The second case highlights the merger of Air France and Royal Dutch Airlines, the first international merger in the airline industry in 2004. What went wrong?

2020 BHC Meeting Andrew Busch Bringing in the State: Global Competition, Research Consortiums, and the Paradox of High Tech Business, 1978-1988

This paper looks at the formation and locational choice of the Microelectronics and Computer Corporation, the first federally-sponsored research consortium in the US, during the 1980s. MCC, formed in response to Japan’s growing challenge to US technological dominance as well as the military demands of Reagan’s Cold War initiatives, was designed as a partnership between the federal government and the US’s largest semiconductor and computing companies. Emphasizing cooperation rather than competition would, according to proponents, advance US technological interests.
Broadly the paper argues that MCC can tell us a great deal about the role of the state in high tech economic development. I look at two aspects of MCC within in the context of Reagan-era neoliberalism and the role of the state in subsidizing and promoting business. First, I analyze at how the State of Texas, City of Austin, public universities, and elite Texas businesspeople convinced MCC to locate in Austin. The Texas case demonstrates the importance of public-private partnerships and the use of quasi-public entities, like research universities, to enhance local and regional federal investment. Second, I investigate how high tech as a primary economic sector demands high levels of government involvement because of its unique nature as a product and business. High startup cost, prolonged time to market, and high levels of risk mean that high tech businesses must rely on states for investment capital. In the Reagan era this level of public involvement in business created a paradox of exorbitant public spending and a dismantling of free market practices rhetorically favored by conservatives.

2020 BHC Meeting Ann Carlos The Essential Role of Indigenous Consumer Satisfaction in the Eighteenth Century Hudson’s Bay Company

The rise of global trade in the aftermath of the Voyages of Exploration brought differing societies and cultures into contact for the first time. This was especially the case for the commercial fur trade in sub-Arctic Canada which brought iron and manufactured products to Native society and furs and pelts much in demand by hatters and felters to Europe for the cosmopolitan trade in hats. Often depicted as subaltern agents, this paper documents the ways in which taste, preferences and demands of native actors structured the trade not merely in terms of their cultural practices but more importantly in terms of the types of goods, their quality and the prices paid. Consumer satisfaction was an essential element in the collaboration between the Hudson’s Bay Company on the one hand and the indigenous agents without whom there would have been no trade. Collaboration was not just a function of those moments of trade exchange but also required the active engagement of individuals far removed, in particular, the role of women long ignored must be considered as vital to the success of the trade.

2020 BHC Meeting Juan Carmona-Zabala Employees or Entrepreneurs? Competing Views on the Predicament of Austrian Tobacco Shopkeepers (1907-1936)

Is a franchisee the employee of a large company, or a modest businessman? This question is not merely a legal or technical one, as it may carry moral implications. Generally speaking, companies are often expected to take some responsibility with regard to the wellbeing of their employees. In the case of business-to-business relationships, in contrast, each party is ultimately responsible for its own success. If franchisees think of themselves as economically dependent from a more powerful party, collective action resembling that of a trade union might make sense. If they see themselves as businessmen, however, they might prefer to focus their energies on outperforming other franchisees.
The purpose of my paper is to present a case study of how different understandings of franchising can emerge at times of crisis. I study Austrian tobacco shopkeepers (Tabak-Trafikanten) in the early twentieth century. They worked as franchisees of the Tabakregie, a state company that held a monopoly over tobacco in Austria. They did so at a time when generalized political and economic collapse often undermined their capacity to stay afloat. I analyze, and compare, two opposed narratives that emerged around their economic plight. One constructed them as dependent from the Tabakregie, and called for thicker profit margins and regulatory change that should come from the company itself. The other, proposed by the Tabakregie’s leadership, constructed the shopkeepers as business entrepreneurs that should adopt the latest innovations in the areas of market research, salesmanship, and advertising.
The research informing this paper is based on periodicals published by the association of tobacco shopkeepers and by the Tabakregie. The results presented in the paper will appeal to scholars interested in the cultural, discursive conditions that frame instances of collective action and collective identities (or lack thereof) involving economic actors.

2020 BHC Meeting Christy Ford Chapin U.S. Policymakers, Regulators, and Bankers Search for Common Ground, 1945-1985

This paper discusses operational changes within commercial banks, particularly as associated with technological advances between 1945 and 1985. I am especially interested in financial economies of scale. The search for a common ground forced policymakers, regulators, and bankers to confront the issue of big banks vs. small banks and federal vs. state regulation. Federal Reserve policymakers and economists had difficulty evaluating the economies of scale issue and were forced to change their measurement methods and policy recommendations over time. These issues were closely linked to the shifting intellectual and ideological context of banking in an era in which all parties, public and private, to the banking system were rethinking their approaches to the size of banks.

2020 BHC Meeting George Colpitts Coordinating Heritage in Hudson’s Bay Company Marketing and Development, 1925-1931

In 1925, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) established a Development Department in its London offices with the intent to modernize the company’s fur trade. Although never numbering more than 14 employees and disbanding its work in 1931, the department’s mission was nevertheless ambitious: to see breakthroughs in science and technology modernize the company’s wide range of imports from North America, and widen its consumer base in new marketing strategies. These initiatives fall into the conference theme of collaboration in Business History. The development department relied on cooperation between the HBC and its numerous affiliated fur suppliers, buyers, auction houses and, especially, retailers. Managed by Charles Townsend, the former development manager at Lever Brothers, the company’s own initiatives in development worked with government, technological partners and retailers to persuade customers, especially from London storefronts and in advertisements, to purchase products that benefited from modern chemical and technological treatments. However, the same department cultivating greater cooperation among its partners turned to its history to brand its new products. Only a few years earlier, the company celebrated its 250th anniversary, launching the Beaver as an in-house staff publication, a substantial published company history and a film documentary. The Development Department quite explicitly marketed the company’s heritage in its new products: as London’s premier and oldest fur company, its furs genuinely traced to Canada’s north, and its business integral to Canada’s own national history. Most importantly, the company showcased its long history as proof of its superior, more just and uninterrupted paternal support for Canada’s Indigenous people. Townsend’s office, then, coordinated inputs from numerous private and public sector entities to market new products, but fundamentally drew on the company’s heritage to brand them.

2020 BHC Meeting Ella Coon Hardliners and High Technology: Conflicts over the Globalization of Computer Technology in the Communist World

This paper looks at the political economy of technology transfers between the US-based supercomputer firm, Control Data Corporation (CDC), and Central and Eastern Europe during détente. CDC was the preeminent producer of supercomputers in the 1970s. The firm also had a large market in computer peripherals (e.g. disk packs and printers), technologies which had strategic applications. Combining business history, diplomatic history, and legal history, the study traces the firm’s export of computer peripherals to Central and Eastern Europe, highlighting how these transfers worked with and against various states interests in light of the heightened Cold War context. This project in balancing interests demonstrates the firm’s geopolitical clout, providing a necessary counterpoint to literature in the social sciences that frames multinational firms a either stateless or an arm of the state. Moreover, the study illustrates how the firm’s efforts to (what we would now call) ‘globalize’ production exacerbated tensions with the US Defense establishment in the 1970s. In 1976, the US Defense Department released the Bucy Report, a study calling for the restriction of intellectual property to the Communist world for potentially strategic technologies on national security grounds. This suggestion, which led to a series of debates between the federal agency and the firm at the Pentagon, cut against CDC’s commercial project in Central and Eastern Europe, as the corporation was using licensing agreements to export their designs. This research considers collaboration in that it explicates how a firm worked with and against interested parties and communities (e.g. ministries, agencies, and research centers) across ideological, political, and economic boundaries, establishing an early, global supply chain. Moreover, the study demonstrate how this collaboration was ultimately shaped by power, domination, and accumulation.

2020 BHC Meeting Simon Cordery Networking Chicago in the Gilded Age: Albert Benton Pullman Makes (and Unmakes) His Connections

Networking implies connectedness and cooperation—but not necessarily success. Indeed, the broad business and social networks of Gilded Age financier and industrialist Albert Benton Pullman fueled an array of bad investments. Pullman used his famous surname and gregarious personality to gather and deploy connections to enter banking, electricity, insurance, manufacturing, and transportation. Elder brother of introverted railroad magnate George Mortimer Pullman, Albert adroitly organized and affably hosted Pullman’s Palace Car Company excursion trains. These gave him access to nationally known figures on whom he leaned for advice, ideas, and access. He even launched a fraudulent land scheme with contacts made on these trips. As he and wife Emily grew into Chicago society, his membership in social clubs and Masonic organizations expanded his reach.

In addition to building networks, however, Albert Pullman had an unfortunate propensity for destroying them. His financial instincts often proved disastrous and he made some calamitous investments. Pullman’s life and legacy suggest a very modern parallel: nineteenth century entrepreneurs were only as good as the decisions they made and the luck they enjoyed in a volatile marketplace. A combination of mistakes and poor timing reveals how contingency, chaos, and uncertainty could disrupt network building. Cooperating with Albert Pullman did not necessarily guarantee wealth, as his collaborators sometimes learned to their cost.

Building on works by Pamela Laird (2006), Balleisen (2017), and Ferguson (2018), this presentation will use archival and other contemporary sources to offer a case study of one entrepreneur’s extensive complex of business connections. Albert Pullman’s career will thus illustrate the variegated processes of network building and demolition

2020 BHC Meeting Juan-Santiago Correa The Cartagena Railroad: A Failed Hegemonic Experience and a Laboratory of Social Movements in the Caribbean (1894-1951)

The Cartagena Railroad was part of a joint effort to recover the port’s dynamism and to compete with sub-regions that sought to achieve a leading role in the Colombian Caribbean. In this struggle, although partially fulfilling this purpose, the railroad failed to become established as a hegemonic project in terms of territorial dominance, and it was displaced in importance by Barranquilla and its railway line.
Cartagena was not able to impede the Barranquilla railway project and once it started to operate, the city’s position was severely relegated due to the success of Barranquilla and its area of influence. When Cartagena set in motion a railway project (1894) to regularize the flow of goods between the Caribbean and the Magdalena River, this had a limited influence on regional definition. This railway line was a delayed response that sought to compensate the consolidation of a new sub-region with greater dynamism.
Thus, this paper will analyze, first, the role of this railroad in the context of the changes in territorial appropriation patterns in the region at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. On the other hand, despite a rather limited success in recovering Cartagena’s commercial dynamism, the railroad became an important scenario for worker movements in the region between 1930 and 1951, when the railway line ceased operations. For this reason, the second purpose of this paper is to analyze worker organizations that emerged in relation to the railroad and their impact on the operation of the railway line and on the recognition of social demands.

2020 BHC Meeting James Cortada Entwined Relations: IBM and Its History Research Relations with Journalists, Historians, and Employees

This presentation briefly outlines 3 examples of how students of IBM's history have worked with the company's archives and with each other in recent years. The first case involved the IBM plant and laboratory in Rochester, Minnesota hiring two historians at the Charles Babbage Institute to write a history of the site in the early 2000s; the second concerns how the firm conducted historical research as part of its 100th Anniversary celebration in 2011; the third concerns James Cortada's use of the archives to prepare his history of IBM, published in 2018. All three projects relied on various archival sources, different relations with the corporation and under varying circumstances. Those will be described to illustrate IBM's archival practices. I will argue that historians are permitted to use the archives within limited guidelines and that archivists have useful finding aids with limited access to historians and that the archives are properly organized and quickly accessible when needed.

2020 BHC Meeting Alisha Cromwell A Workshop of One's Own

As a Junior Scholar, one of the most important experiences in my short career has been attending the Global Female Entrepreneurs workshop because it allowed me to interact with global scholars who introduced me to diverse ways of thinking and writing about female entrepreneurs. At this point, I had two book reviews under my name and was completely unfamiliar with the editing and publishing process. When I walked into the conference room and found myself seated among very excellent scholars, I was extremely intimidated. I had read the important works of historians like Mary Yeager and Beatrice Craig; however, meeting them in person and having them treat me as a part of their inner-circle was something else entirely. Our workshop was a place of thrilling intellectual discourse, humor, and comradery. I provided comments for others and received useful critiques for improving my own chapter on elite and enslaved female entrepreneurs in the 19th century American South. One of the most important evaluations of my chapter was that the scholars I was engaging with were very old Marxists and that I needed to refresh my historiographical section. I received a list of scholarly works, including those of Juliet Walker and Nicola Philips, which allowed me to situate my work within the more current historiography of women and business. What was once a paper about elite and enslaved women in the Savannah marketplace shifted into a more nuanced discussion of female economic relationships in a slave society. With each new round of papers and observations, our global group began to find common themes between all of our studies. Right before my eyes, our ideas were shifting from individual essays into a collective analysis. We had truly found a workshop of our own.

2020 BHC Meeting Rosanne Currarino Economies of Scale: Business and the State in Gilded Age America

Much recent work on the strength and vigor of the Gilded Age state has either focused on the state’s own efforts to intervene in economic development or has detailed on public calls for state regulation of emerging large corporations. But in the 1870s and 1880s the impetus for state or federal government intervention in the economy also came from business people who demanded and expected a robust state. This paper will examine the efforts of California’s orange growers, self-described businessmen, to force the state of California and the federal government to support their fledgling enterprise. Growers believed that profitable fruit-growing required “practical experimentation by individuals and the state” and a “State and nation” willing to “expend its millions” on such work “in the name of our common humanity.” Growers’ need for state help grew acute in the 1800s when Icerya purchasi (the cottony cushion scale) arrived, determined to eat every single orange tree in Southern California. Faced with this “army of minute but redoubtable and relentless enemies,” growers begged California for stronger quarantine laws, horticultural inspectors, and pesticides. With equal fervor they pleaded for the Department of Agriculture to find something, anything that would kill the ferocious insect. In response Department entomologists found Vedalia cardinalis in Australia and imported the “wondrous” ladybug. Its limitless appetite for Icerya saved California’s orange industry. Growers’ demands on the state, especially during the Icerya crisis, imply that state engagement in business enterprises, including regulation (here via quarantine), were as much as response business needs as to public efforts to control enterprises’ growth. At the same time, growers placed limits on how much “interference” they wanted. At least some Gilded Age businessmen saw the state as an invaluable partner, but businessmen expected to be the senior partners in that relationship.

2020 BHC Meeting Paula de la Cruz-Fernández Gender and the Multiple Currencies of Multinational Business

This study focuses on the multinational Singer Sewing Machine Company from a gender and cultural perspective. Though multinationals’ operations capacity to influence and structure the global marketplace is undeniable (Coffin 1983, Domosh 2005, de Grazia 2006, Arnold 2011, Gordon 2012), I argue that ideas and perceptions of women’s work and evolving domesticity ideologies had a central role in shaping economic transformation and global business in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Feminist and gender historians have examined the place and role of women in business, arguing not only that a history of the corporation without considering women was incomplete, but also demonstrating that women were front runners of companies in a varied and extensive list of industries (Kwolek-Folland 1994, Gamber 1997, Gálvez Muñoz & Fernández Pérez, 2007, Lewis 2009). My analysis goes deeper by looking at the financial and cultural strategies that women used to support their families and the economic and cultural well-being of their homes, and how these made them participants and makers of capitalism as they were so intimately related to the growth of one of the largest US multinational companies. This paper explores credit opportunities, sewing and embroidery practices, cultural practices in relation to work and home production, and women’s consumption and production activities using Singer sewing machines in Spain and Mexico between 1860 and 1940. These are all factors that demonstrate the reaches of business into the private sphere; an important perspective that also brings back the study of the multinational enterprise as a culturally embedded organization, an approach mostly ignored within the scholarship of international business history.

2020 BHC Meeting Nicole de Silva Housewives Imagine a New World: The Social and Economic Thought of the International Co-operative Women’s Guild, 1921-1939

The International Cooperative Alliance (established 1895) and the International Cooperative Wholesale Society (formed 1924 to collect and exchange market data) helped to extend the global reach of the co-operative movement in the interwar period. These organizations have received some scholarly attention, but fewer historians have examined the International Co-operative Women’s Guild (ICWG, founded 1921). By 1937, ICWG conferences brought together over five-hundred women from the U.S. and Europe. The ICWG gave feminist economists and self-declared “housewives” an institutional space for reimagining global political economy from the bottom-up view of the household-consumer. Through an examination of the ICWG papers and writings of leaders Emmy Freundlich (Austria), Honora Enfield (UK), and Emmy Riedl (Germany), I have found that co-operative women combined social ideals with business practices in three ways. First, co-operatives gave each owner-member one vote regardless of investment. Freundlich believed that this democratic control complimented women’s newfound political suffrage. Because the ICWG believed that this business practice could foster a popular democratic consciousness that might aid yet disenfranchised women, it became a shareholder in ventures such as the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (formed 1938) and helped formed its Women’s Section. Second, Riedl claimed that “production for use,” the vertical integration of producers, wholesalers, and retailers and the use of market data to plan production for consumer demand, eased the housewife’s burden by improving access to essential goods at fair prices. Finally, the ICWG concurred with the ICA that international co-operative trading could diminish competition over resources that led to war. Freundlich articulated these views at the 1927 World Economic Conference. The ICWG declared co-operation a political economy of peace—one that could improve material security for nations and households within them.