The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society organizes events designed to bring attention to Hagley’s research collections and the topics with which they engage. Our author talk series features recent original books that draw on Hagley materials and address topics of interest to a general audience. Research seminars invite audiences to read and offer thoughts on pre-circulated work in progress original historical essays, and intended for a cross-over audience of active scholars and the interested public. Conferences are organized in around a thematic call for papers and are comprised of academic presentations based on original research. Many conferences form the basis for edited volumes published in the University of Pennsylvania Press series, Hagley Perspectives on Business and Culture.
Upcoming History Hangouts
A virtual event produced by the Center for Business History featuring in-depth talks with staff and scholars about moments in U.S. history documented by collections at the Hagley Library.
During the 1920s, major American corporations established in-house labor unions to address worker agitation. Labor historian Alex John Fleet, PhD candidate at Wayne State University, explores the phenomenon in his dissertation research. Seeking to uncover how company unions intersected with changing labor-management relations, and broader changes in the workplace social environment, Fleet explored the archives of several large firms of the era, notably Goodyear rubber held in Ohio, and Bethlehem Steel held at the Hagley Library. Both companies established in-house labor unions, and organized means for worker representatives to air and possibly seek redress of grievances.
The Empire of Bethlehem stretched from a small eastern-Pennsylvania city across the United States and down to Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, and Brazil. It encompassed dozens of plants, concerns, and subsidiary firms, and touched the lives of millions of people across multiple continents. During a century (1880s-1980s) of involvement in Latin America, Bethlehem Steel Company imported cheap materials (iron, manganese) while exporting technical, corporate, and social practices developed in the United States.
Upcoming Author Talks
Each year, the Hagley Center organizes a conference around a theme in business history. We issue a thematic call for papers in the spring, and the resulting fall conference consists of academic presentations based on original research.
Upcoming Research Seminars
For more than twenty years Hagley’s research seminars have brought innovative work-in-progress essays for wide-ranging discussions on Thursday evenings during the academic year. Those planning to attend are encouraged to read the paper in advance as the author does not deliver a lecture. For papers, contact Carol Lockman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 658-2400, ext. 243.
Between 1698 and 1766 traders in the British Atlantic forged significant shipping efficiencies. Some studies have attributed these efficiencies to reductions in days in port for transatlantic trading ventures. Yet, a dataset of 30,821 discrete records for vessel entrances and clearings out of Virginia to ports around the Atlantic demonstrates that emerging multilateral connections between...
Today polyurethane foams pad and cushion our bodies. They can be found in office chairs, sports shoes, shapewear, mouse pads, car upholstery, wheelchair seats, and mattresses. Yet, little is known about these plastic foams’ military-industrial origins. This chapter traces this history from a series of World War II US military intelligence reports that recommended the postwar transfer of...
American merchant milling was one of the most capital intensive, socially prominent, and financially lucrative industries in the late-colonial and early-national periods. Begun in the early eighteenth century, merchant milling, or large-scale market-oriented flour production, experienced a price revolution about 1748, and went on to lead United States exports by value until the Civil War. The...