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American Business History, Seminar Reading List, 2021-22, Semester 2

American Business History, 2021/22, Semester 2
Professor Regina Blaszczyk
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Blaszczyk, Regina Lee, and Scranton, Philip. Major Problems in American Business History: Documents and Essays Boston: Houghton Miffin, 2006.    

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Seminar Week 1: American Business and the American Dream


The Constitution of the United States, at the National Archives of the United States,

Pena, David S., “Comparing the Chinese Dream with the American Dream,” International Critical Thought 5 (2015), 277-295. Online resource.

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Seminar Week 2: The Slave South


Beckert, Sven, “Cotton and the Global Origins of Capitalism,” Journal of World History 28 (March 2017): 107-120.  Online resource.

Bailey, Ronald, “The Other Side of Slavery: Black Labor, Cotton, and Textile Industrialization in Britain and the United States,” Agricultural History 68 (spring 1994), 34-50.  Online resource.

Chaplin, Joyce E., “Creating a Cotton South in Georgia and South Carolina, 1760-1815,” Journal of Southern History 57 (May 1991), 171-200. Online resource.

Colby, Jason M., “Race, Empire and New England Capital in the Caribbean, 1890-1930,” Massachusetts Historical Review 11 (2009), 1-25.  Online resource.

Dyle, Steven, “An ‘Abominable’ New Trade: The Closing of the African Slave Trade and Changing Patterns of U.S. Political Power, 1808-60,” William and Mary Quarterly (Oct. 2009), 833-850.  Online resource.

Elliott, E. N., Cotton Is King, and Pro-Slavery Arguments: Comprising the Writings of Hammond, Harper, Christy, Stringfellow, Hodge, Bledsoe, and Cartwright, on this Important Subject. Augusta, Georgia: Pritchard, Abbott & Loomis, 1850. Online resource. 

Johnson, Walter, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. Online resource.

Mintz, Sidney W., Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books, 1985. Online resource. 

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Seminar Week 3: The Industrial North


Dublin, Thomas, Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860, 2d ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Online resource. 

Farley, Harriet, Operatives’ Reply to Hon. Jere. Clemens Being a Sketch of Factory Life and Factory Enterprise and a Brief History of Manufacturing by Machinery. Lowell: S. J. Varney, 1850. Online resource. 

Knight, Charles, and Harriet Martineau, Mind Amongst the Spindles: A Miscellany, wholly composed by the factory girls; selected from the Lowell Offering. Boston: Jordan, Swift & Wiley, 1845. Online resource. 

Miles, Henry Adolphus Miles. Lowell, as It Was and As It Is. Lowell, Mass.: Powers and Bagley, 1845. Online resource. 

Verplanck, Anne, “The Business of Daguerreotypy,” Enterprise & Society 16 (Dec. 2015), 889-928. Online resource. 

Zakim, Michael, “A Ready-Made Business: The Birth of the Clothing Industry in America,” Business History Review (spring 1999): 61-90. Online resource. 

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Seminar Week 5: The Age of Big Business


Arnold, David, “Global Goods and Local Usages: The Small World of the Indian Sewing Machine, 1875-1952,” Journal of Global History 6 (2011), 407-429.  Online resource. 

Backer, Samuel E., “The Informational Economy of Vaudeville and the Business of American Entertainment,” Business History Review 95 (autumn 2021), 423-446.  Online resource. 

Chandler, Alfred D., Jr., “The Beginnings of ‘Big Business’ in American Industry,” Business History Review 33 (Spring 1959): 1-31. Online resource. 

Connelly, Marguerite, “The Disappearance of the Domestic Sewing Machine, 1890-1925,” Winterthur Portfolio 34 (spring 1999), 31-48.  Online resource. 

Davies, Robert B., “’Peacefully Working to Conquer the World”: The Singer Manufacturing Company in Foreign Markets, 1854-1889,” Business History Review 43 (autumn 1969), 299-325. Online resource. 

French, M. J., “The Emergence of US Multinational Enterprise: The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, 1910-1939,” Economic History Review, 2d ser., 40, (1987), 65-79.  Online resource. 

Godley, Andrew, “Selling the Sewing Machine Around the World: Singer’s International Marketing Strategies, 1850-1920,” Enterprise & Society 7, no. 2 (June 2006): 266-314. Online resource. 

Gordon, Andrew, “Selling the American Way: The Singer Sales System in Japan, 1900-1938,” Business History Review 82 (winter 2008), 671-699.  Online resource. 

Han, Eunsun Celeste, “Making a Black Pacific: African Americans and the Formation of Transpacific Community Networks, 1865-1872,” Journal of African American History 101 (winter-spring 2016), 23-48. Online resource.

Hounshell, David A.,  From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. Online resource. 

Mills, James D., The Art of Money Making; or the Road to Fortune: A Universal Guide for Honest Success. St. Louis, Mo.: International Publishing Co., 1874. Online resource. 

Tarbell, Ida Minerva, The History of the Standard Oil Company. London: William Heineman, 1905. Online resource. 

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Seminar Week 7: Consumer Culture


Blaszczyk, Regina Lee, Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Online resource. 

Gamber, Wendy, “A Gendered Enterprise: Placing Nineteenth-Century Businesswomen in History,” Business History Review 72 (summer 1998), 188-217. Online resource. 

Howard, Vicki, From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.  Online resource. 

Leach, William R., “Transformations in a Culture of Consumption: Women and Department Stores, 1890-1925,” Journal of American History 71 (September 1984): 319-342. Online resource. 

Klassen, Henry C., “T.C. Power & Bro.: The Rise of a Small Western Department Store, 1870-1902,” Business History Review 66 (winter 1992), 671-72.  Online resource. 

Manring, Maurice M., “Aunt Jemima Explained: The Old South, the Absent Mistress, and the Slave in a Box,” Southern Cultures 2 (fall 1995), 19-44. Online resource. 

Nutting, P. Bradley, “Selling Elegant Glassware during the Great Depression: A. H. Heisey & Copmany and the New Deal,” Business History Review 77 (autumn 2003), 447-478. Online resource.

Resseguie, Harry E., “Alexander Turney Stewart and the Development of the Department Store, 1823-1876,” Business History Review 39 (autumn 1965), 301-322. Online resource. 

Reynolds, Virginia, “Slaves to Fashion, Not Society: Elizabeth Keekly and Washington, D.C.’s African-American Dressmakers, 1860-1870,” Washington History 26 (fall 2014), 4-17.  Online resource. 

Stobart, Jon, and Vicki Howard, The Routledge Companion to the History of Retailing Abington, Oxon: Routledge, 2019.  Online resource. 

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Seminar Week 8: Modern Times  


Blaszczyk, Regina Lee, The Color Revolution. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2012. Online resource. 

Caldor, Lendor, Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Online resource. 

Flink, James J., The Automobile Age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990. Online resource. 

Hounshell, David A., From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. Online resource. 

Marchand, Roland, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.  Online resource. 

Olney, Martha L., “Advertising, Consumer Credit, and the ‘Consumer Durables Revolution’ of the 1920s,” Journal of Economic History 47 (June 1987): 489-491.  Online resource. 

Schorman, Rob, “’This Astounding Car for $1,500”: The Year Automobile Advertising Came of Age,” Enterprise and Society 11 (Sept. 2010): 468-523. Online resource. 

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Seminar Week 9: Black Business


Hill, Laura Warren and Julia Rabig, eds., The Business of Black Power: Community Development, Capitalism, and Corporate Responsibility in Postwar America (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2012). Online resource. 

Lewis, Tasha, and Natalie Gray, “The Maturation of Hip-Hop’s Menswear Brands: Outfitting the Urban Consumer,” Fashion Practice 5 (2013), 229-243.  Online resource. 

McAndrew, Malia, “Selling Black Beauty: African American Modeling Agencies and Charm Schools in Postwar America,” OAH Magazine of History 24 (Jan. 2010), 29-32. Online resource. 

McAndrew, Malia, “A Twentieth-Century Triangle Trade: Selling Black Beauty at Home and Abroad, 1945-1965,” Enterprise & Society 11 (Dec. 2010), 786-812. Online resource. 

Peck, Janice, “The Secret of Her Success: Oprah Winfrey and the Seductions of Self-Transformation,” Journal of Communication Inquiry 34 (2010), 7-14.  Online resource. 

Petrulis, Jason, “A Country of Hair”: A Global History of South Korean Wigs, Korean American Entrepreneurs, African American Hairstyles, and Cold War Industrialization,” Enterprise & Society 22 (June 2021), 368-408.  Online resource.

Suisman, David, “Co-Workers in the Kingdom of Culture: Black Swan Records and the Political Economy of American Music,” Journal of American History 90 (March 2004), 1295-1324. Online resource. 

Walker, Juliet E. K., “War, Women, Song: The Tectonics of Black Business and Entrepreneurship, 1939-2001,” Review of Black Political Economy 31 (2003), 65-108. Online resource. 

Walker, Susannah, “Black Is Profitable: The Commodification of the Afro, 1960-1975,” Enterprise & Society 1 (Sept. 2000), 536-564. Online resource. 

Weems, Robert E., Jr., “A Man in a Woman’s World: Anthony Overton’s Rise to Prominence in the African American Personal Care Products Industry,” Journal of African American History 101 (fall 2016), 407-435. Online resource.

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Seminar Week 10: The Postwar Era


Cohen, Lizabeth, “From Town Center to Shopping Center: The Reconfiguration of Community Marketplaces in Postwar America,” American Historical Review 101 (Oct. 1996), 1050-1081.  Online resource. 

Flink, James J., The Automobile Age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990. Online resource. 

Marling, Karal Ann, “America’s Love Affair with the Automobile in the Television Age,” Design Quarterly 146 (1989), 5-20.  Online resource. 

Morin, Alice, “The Fashion of the 1960s: A New Power Shaping the American Image,” USAbroad: Journal of American History and Politics 1 (2018), 1-13, available online at

Samuel, Lawrence R., Brought to You By: Postwar Television Advertising and the American Dream. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001). Online resource. 

Spiegel, Lynn, Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. Online resource. 

Kuisel, Richard F., “Coca-Cola and the Cold War: The French Face Americanization, 1948-1953,” French Historical Studies 17 (spring 1991), 96-116.  Online resource. 

Manzano, Valeria, “The Blue Jean Generation: Youth, Gender, and Sexuality in Buenos Aires, 1958-1975,” Journal of Social History 42 (spring 2009), 657-676.  Online resource. 

Stobart, Jon, and Vicki Howard, The Routledge Companion to the History of Retailing (Abington, Oxon: Routledge, 2019) Online resource. 

Zumello, Christine, “The ‘Everything Card’ and Consumer Credit in the United States in the 1960s,” Business History Review 85 (autumn 2011), 551-575. Online resource.

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Seminar Week 11: The Service Economy  

Applebaum, Richard, and Nelson Lichtenstein, “A New World of Retail Supremacy: Supply Chains and Workers’ Chains in the Age of Wal-Mart,” International Labor and Working-Class History 70 (Fall 2006): 106-125. Online resource. 

Brunn, Stanley D., Wal-Mart World: The World’s Biggest Corporation in the Global Economy (New York: Routledge, 2015) (Ebook ordered)   

Copeland, Nicholas, and Christine Labuski, The World of Wal-Mart: Discounting the American Dream (New York: Rutledge, 2012) (eBook ordered)   

Miller, Michael B., Europe and the Maritime World: A Twentieth-Century History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Online resource. 

Levinson, Marc, The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. Online resource. 

Levinson, Marc, Outside the Box: How Globalization Changed from Moving Stuff to Spreading Ideas. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020. (eBook ordered).   

Stobart, Jon, and Vicki Howard, The Routledge Companion to the History of Retailing Abington, Oxon: Routledge, 2019. Online resource. 

Vance, Sandra S., and Roy V. Scott, “Sam Walton and Wal-Mart Stores., Inc.: A Study in Modern Southern Entrepreneurship,” Journal of Southern History 58 (May 1992), 231-252. Online resource. 

Wilk, Daniel Levinson, “The Red Cap’s Gift,” Enterprise & Society 16 (March 2015), 5-50. Online resource. 

This list was last updated on 22/01/2022