Economic and Business History Society, May 25-27, 2017, Oklahoma City, OK
For an international organization and conference EBHS is surprisingly friendly and supportive. Each speaker talks for about 20 minutes and then there is a discussion, sometimes after each speaker, sometimes after a panel. The comments are positive, or at least constructive, with ideas for further research or questions about the speaker’s next steps.
The speakers are from a number of countries and the topics cover a range of time periods, places, and subjects. This year I listened to talks on female probate court appraisers in 18th century Virginia, the Iron Act of 1750, Philadelphia’s Trade with Lisbon before Independence, Prosperity of Two Birth Signs in the Asian Zodiac, Tax Incentives in National Archives, Cliometrics, Industrial Symbiosis in the Cottonseed Industry During the 19th Century, Regensburg’s Hospital Granary (17th – 19th Centuries), and the Role of Television Penetration in the Number of Movie Theaters, and a panel on challenges in management.
One of the teaching roundtables focused on informed students. One speaker talked about the improved quality of papers his students wrote when they were required to turn in an annotated bibliography. Both speakers mentioned the importance of referring students to librarians.
In the session on Cliometrics, the speaker mentioned Fogel’s view that if people are still talking about you in 50 years you are significant, and the use of citation analysis in this research. If works by an author or scholar are being cited 50 years after publication or over a long period of time they meet the standard of significance.
My presentation, “Bicycle Route Coupons: An Early Example of Travel Discounts,” focused on one aspect of a continuing project to digitize bicycle route narratives published in the Philadelphia Inquirer in the late 1890’s. Many of the route narratives were accompanied by coupons that guaranteed a discount to riders who took the coupon into select hotels mentioned in the route. I discussed the introduction of coupons in the travel industry and the use of coupons generally in the late 1800’s, and how the route coupons fit into that timeline.
This was the second time I attended and presented at EBHS. Both times it was a uniformly and consistently positive experience. The papers are interesting and the people are wonderful.