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197K HIST SEM 1: Undergraduate Seminar: Big Shots and Small Potatoes: Women and Men in Business in the United States
R 03:00P -- 05:50P    PUB POL 1337

Instructor Office Phone Number Email Office Hours
Yeager, Mary A. 7381 Bunche 310 825-3489, 310 825-4601 yeager@ucla.edu T 1:45-3:45

Big Shots and Small Potatoes: A History of Men and Women in Business

Big Shots and Small Potatoes:  A History of Business People in the United States


H. 197k


Prof. Mary A. Yeager                                                        Winter Quarter 2001, UCLA

Office:  Bunche Hall #7381

Hours:  Tues: 1:45-3:45

Tele:  310-825-3489

e-mail:  yeager@ucla.edu

fax:  310-278-5311


Why did  Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford,  Madam C.J. Walker, Estee Lauder,  Martha Stewart, and Bill Gates become “Big Shots”  while  most other businesspeople remained “small potatoes”? Was it gender?  Was it the nature of the industry?  Was it the product or service?  Was it the market?  Was it innovation? Luck? Timing?   Students use autobiographical and biographical sources, supplemented by select cases in business and economic history, to probe the relationship between big and small business people in the American economy. 


Requirements:  Intelligent, active, consistent seminar participation.  (Worth 50%)

One 13-15 page paper, with bibliography, details and possible topics, to be discussed in class. (Worth 50%), due the last day of class. 




**Kwolek-Folland, Angel.  Incorporating Women;  A History Of Women And Business In The United States.  (Twayne, 1998)


Thomas K. McCraw, American Business, 1920-2000:  How It Worked


Livesay, Harold.  American Made;  Men  Who Made The American Economy


Porter, Glenn.  The Rise Of Big Business.  T.R. Crowell.


**Walker, Juliette.  The History Of Black Business In America:  Capitalism, Race, Entrerpenruship.  New York:  Macmillan/Prentice Hall International, 1998.


Olegario, Rowena,  ‘That Mysterious People;:  Jewish Merchants, Transparency, and Community in Mid-Nineteenth Century America,” Business History Review 73 (Summer 1999): 161-89.


Schedule of Seminars and Assignments.


Week #1.  “From ‘Busyness’ to “Business”:  Looking Backward-- and Forward


Begin the reading for Week II, so that you are prepared next Thursday to discuss readings,

 Week #2.


Week #2. The Rise of Big Business in America


Glenn Porter, The Rise of Big Business

Mary A. Yeager, “Introduction” in WOMEN IN BUSINESS, 3 vols. (Elgar, 1999)


Week #3.   How American Business Worked in the Twentieth Century


                McCraw, Thomas K.  AMERICAN BUSINESS, 1920-2000, all.


Week #4.   What is a Firm?  How, why and when does Size Matter?


                Chandler, “What is a Firm?” in Mary A. Yeager, ed., Women in Business,  v. 1.

                Ronald Coase, “The Nature of the Firm,” in The Firm, The Market and the Law, pp. 33-55.   Mira Wilkins


Week #5.  Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Firms: Who is and Who Isn’t an Entrepreneur? Why does Growth Matter?


Joseph  A. Schumpeter, “The Creative Response in Economic History,” Journal of Economic History, vii (2), November, 149-159 and  James H. Soltow, “The Entrepreneur in Economic History, American EconomicReview, LVIII(2), May 1968, 84-92  and N.S.B. Gras, “The Business Ma n and Economic Systems,” Journal of Economic and Business History III(2), February 1931, 165-84, in Harold Livesay,  Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Firms, v. 1. 


Week #6.   What Difference Has Gender Made to the History of Business? Part I




Mary A. Yeager, “Introduction” and “Will There Ever Be a Feminist History?” in WOMEN IN BUSINESS, 3 vols. (Elgar, 1999)


Week #7.   What Difference Has Gender Made to the History of Business? Part II


            Livesay, Harold. American Made


Week #8.     The Business of Race and Ethnicity in America


            Juliette Walker, The History of Black Business in America:  Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship


Rowena Olegario, “’That Mysterious People:  Jewish Merchants, Transparency, and Community in Mid-Nineteenth Century America,”  Business History Review 73(Summer 1999): 161-189.


Robert Weems, “Out of the Shadows:  Business Enterprise and African American Historiography,”  Business and Economic History, v. 26, n. 1(Fall 1997), 200-211.


Week #9.  Paying Attention to Culture


                Lipartito, “Culture and the Practice of Business History,”  Business and Economic History, v. 24, n.2 (Winter 1995), 1-41. 


Week #10.  The Business Parade:  Big Shots and Small Potatoes


            Presentation of student papers*

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Updated Jan 11 2001 14:33:22