New Bodleian History Books: September 2019 – Economic History

New Bodleian History Books: Economic History

Adam Smith’s 1776 Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is generally considered to be the first modern work of economics, and economic history as a discipline is even younger, tracing its origins only to the late 19th and early 20th century. As a discipline, economic history can be variously defined as the study of the economic aspects of societies and individuals in the past, or the history of the economic use of resources such as a land, labour and capital, or the examination of the past performance of individual economies. It thus includes a number of different sub-disciplines such as financial and business history, or demographic and labour history, and asks questions about such diverse issues as the demand and supply of goods and services, production and costs of production, trade and trade routes, levels of income, distribution of wealth, or volume and direction of investment. But since historical economic phenomena have no existence independent of the social, political, cultural, religious and physical environment in which they occurred, economic historians will also draw on the areas of political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and might consider a wide variety of  factors including crime, education, the family, law, politics, religion, social institutions, war, science, and the environment.

This blog entry is not the place to get involved in the great debate of the exact relationship between economics, history and economic history (does any study of economics involve a component of economic history so that the two are inseparable? Or does economic history constitute its own field separate from mainstream economics? Does economic history belong into the History Department or into the Economics Department?) – without taking any sides, the History books newly arrived at the Bodleian I have chosen to highlight in this month’s blog are simply studies on any aspect of economics from a historical perspective, from discussions of a single historical person’s individual wealth or influence on economics, to the trade and industries of towns and cities, the economic situations and influences of larger regions, and finally global economic issues.

Individual economics

Economic history asks questions about some of the fundamental aspects of people’s lives in the past – how and where they lived, how they were born and died, how they worked and earned and spent their money. The factors that influence these include anything from climate and geography to political instability and form of government, the availability or discovery of natural resources, the size and health of population and availability of labour, the existence of natural or artificial infrastructure, and the development or invention of technology. Forces like these are usually understood to be outside the control of single, individual actors – but on the other hand an influential individual, be it a king or queen, politician or economic theorist, businessman or inventor, can certainly singlehandedly change the shape and direction of their society’s economy.

Bernard Allorent’s La fortune de la Grande Mademoiselle examines the personal fortune and property of Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier (1627-1693), which most certainly qualified as “un enjeu politique”, “a political issue” of 17th century France.  One of the greatest heiresses in history, she died unmarried and childless, leaving her vast fortune to her cousin, Philippe of France, the younger brother of Louis XIV. The documentary evidence examined throws light not only on her fortune (and varying fortunes!) and its management, but also on the debt market of 17th century France, the general economic situation of her times, and the influence of the king in the management of her affairs which resulted in the ultimate transmission of her vast fortune to the royal family. An even greater influence by one individual on the economic affairs of two countries if not a whole continent, this time towards the end of the 20th century, is documented by Mathias Haeussler in his study Helmut Schmidt and British-German Relations. In his office as West German chancellor from  1974 to 1982, Schmidt clashed heavily and repeatedly with his British counterparts Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, and Margaret Thatcher – Schmidt’s competing vision of and incompatible strategy for post-war Europe and the issue of European integration not only influenced contemporary market forces, but had long-reaching repercussions on the shape of the European economy as it is today.

Urban economics

The influence of a place’s geography on its economy can be clearly seen in coastal towns and cities whose harbours ensured their development into and situation as major trading centres, often for centuries or even millennia. Venice is one of the great examples of these (see more on this in the next section), but Cyprus has a claim to a similarly long history in the city of Famagusta, the deepest harbour of the island, which dates back to the 3rd century BC, and developed from the early Middle Ages into one of the major trading ports of the Mediterranean in the possessions of Genoa, Venice, the Ottoman Empire, and finally the British Empire. The collection Famagusta maritima offers essays on a wide range of various economic aspects of the port’s history, from its relationship with both the Papal court and the Islamic world to the trade of such diverse merchandise as soap, olive oil, and slaves, to the modern economic boom brought by tourism in the British colonial and postcolonial era. Rather more northern coastal cities are the subject of a second collection of conference proceedings, “Hansisch” oder “nicht-hansisch”, which examines the smaller cities of Livland in the eastern Baltic. Hanseatic traders established trading posts in larger cities there already in early days of the League in the 12th century, but the present collection examines questions of membership and economic and political influence of Livland’s smaller towns, as well as the relationship of the entire region to the great organisation of the Hanseatic League.

Regional economics

Widening the focus from the individual and the urban space of the city, four of the newly arrived books deal with the economic situation of larger regions. Kaufhäuser an Mittel- und Oberrhein im Spätmittelalter presents the proceedings of a conference on the subject of late medieval trade emporia, “Kaufhäuser”, the forerunners of the modern shopping centre, in the Middle and Upper Rhine valley – rather than dealing with individual establishments, the focus of the contributions is on the overall regional impact and operations,  including the influence of trade centres located in smaller towns. Medieval and early modern economics of Western Europe are the subject of Cultures fiscales en Occident du Xe au XVIIe siècle – Denis Menjot has a long distinguished career in the area of the financial, economic, social and political history of Castile and the towns and regions of medieval Spain, and the 28 contributions collected here in his honour touch on issues of taxes, fraud, the redistribution of resources, and financial government and its social effects in medieval and early modern Europe, with a focus on both the idea of the common good in the Middle Ages and that of fiscal citizenship today.

Renaissance economic history, more specifically the economic influence of Venice and it surrounding region on Old Regime Europe, with a special focus on the issue of economic inequalities, is then the subject of Guido Alfani’s and Matteo di Tullio’s The Lion’s Share. Comparing data from the Venetian Terraferma and the rest of early modern Europe, the two authors argue for the rise of the fiscal-military state (with its disparities in wealth increasing through taxation destined to fund war and defence rather than social welfare) as the root cause of modern inequality and social stratification. A second Festschrift, this one in honour of Philippe Mioche whose areas of interest include industrial history and the history of the European Union, moves us into the modern age: the studies in Industrie entre Méditerranée et Europe, XIXe-XXIe siècle explore contemporary industrial history of Europe and the Mediterranean region through the analysis of its main actors, from the human managers and workers to factories and companies, from family businesses to large international groups, and from mines to furnaces. They trace the influences of international and European policies on these industries, as well as their evolution and their heritage, from the 19th century to the present day.

Global economics

Finally, the last newly arrived book I would like to highlight this month moves us onto the stage of global or world economics: in The Anxious Triumph: A Global History of Capitalism, 1880-1914 Donald Sassoon looks at the establishment of the modern political frameworks all over the world which enabled the globalisation and dominance of capitalism as a system, from the unifications of Italy and Germany to the establishment of a republic in France, the elimination of slavery in the American south, the Meiji Restoration in Japan, and the emancipation of the serfs in Tsarist Russia. Sassoon’s study analyses the impact of capitalism on the histories of many different states as well as its chronic instability, the “anxious triumph” of his title, focusing on the role of the state as an “overseer” of the capitalist “war of all against all” – necessary to develop a welfare state, to intervene in the market economy, and also to protect it from foreign competition.

You can find more books on the subject on our online LibraryThing shelf tagged with economic history or economic conditions.

New: online access to Deutsche Reichsanzeiger und Preußischer Staatsanzeiger 1819-1945

Oxford reseachers now have access to the digitised Deutsche Reichsanzeiger und Preußischer Staatsanzeiger 1819-1945. It is listed in Databases A-Z and will soon also appear in SOLO.

The Deutsche Reichsanzeiger and Preußische Staatsanzeiger was a newspaper that appeared until April 1945 and acted as the official press organ of the state of Prussia and then the German Reich. The history of the newspaper goes back to 2 January 1819, changing title and scope in the course of time. Included in this online resource are:

  • Allgemeine Preußische Staats-Zeitung, 1819 (1) (2 January) – 1843 (179) (30 June)
  • Allgemeine Preußische Zeitung, 1843 (1) (1 July) – 1848 (119) (30 April)
  • Preußischer Staats-Anzeiger, 1848 (1) (1/3 May) – 1851 (179) (30 June)
  • Königlich Preußischer Staats-Anzeiger, 1851 (1) (1 July) – 1871 (116) (2 May)
  • Deutscher Reichs-Anzeiger und Königlich Preußischer Staats-Anzeiger, 1871 (1) (4 May) – 1918 (267) (9 November)
  • Deutscher Reichsanzeiger und Preußischer Staatsanzeiger, 1918 (268) (12 November) – 1945 (49) (14 April)

The content also changed over time. Alongside interesting government-controlled editorial sections, the value of this resource lies in an enormous treasure of orderly gathered microdata.  While the gazette published official government notices, in the course of the second half of the 19th century it also published details relating to trade and commerce (e.g. bankruptcies) and between 1873 and Deb 1943 also stock market information.

Königlich Preußischer Staats-Anzeiger, no. 3, 4 January 1871

This resource will also be of interest to those engaged in genealogical studies in Germany in as far as it published extensive lists of casualties during the First World War and expatriation lists during the Third Reich.

Deutscher Reichs-Anzeiger und Königlich Preußischer Staats-Anzeiger, no 137, 13 June 1916

The text is in German Gothic script. You can zoom in and out to enlarge the text and easily create a snippet image to save or print out. Full-text searching is possible also.

Also of interest:

Trial until 15 March: ZEDHIA – historical business information from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and post-war Austria

Oxford researchers are now invited to trial ZEDHIA. The trial can be accessed from OxLIP+.ZEDHIA resource provides historical business information from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and its successor and partly neighbouring states. This includes the areas of modern Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and many more until 1945 and more complete information restricted to Austria afterwards. It currently covers 1812 to 2003.

The backbone of the database are the Compass yearbooks covering 1868- 2000 and the Zentralblatt für die Eintragungen ins Handelsregister (commercial register entries) covering 1904-2001. It gives access to depth-structured, digitised, full-text resources in the fields of Central European financial, economic and trade history and genealogy. There is also much information on local villages, town, their geography and population.

Amongst others, the Compass periodical also includes

  • calendars of national and international importance, e.g. solar eclipses, innovations, religious calendars.
  • directories and dates of markets in Germany, Austria, Hungary
  • information on the postal system, e.g. how post is sent from Austria to any part of the world and how much it costs.
  • information on the finances, branches and staffing of the Austrian national bank and other financial institutions
  • information on transport companies (rail, shipping), their finances, staffing and official notices
  • information customs and excise procedures

Zentralblatt für die Eintragungen ins Handelsregister is particularly useful to trace any retail, financial or commercial enterprise and its owner(s).

Also included in ZEDHIA is Der Tresor: Revue, Statistik und Archiv für Volkswirtschaft und Finanzwesen (1872-1919), a weekly periodical which focused on Austro-Hungarian stock companies and government securities. There were regular and highly detailed financial, statistical and economic analyses as well as in-depth reports on economic and political developments in Austria-Hungary and around the world. Der Tresor is also selectively freely available online at ANNO (Austrian Newspaper Online).

As well as finding information relating to business and commerce, the digitised periodicals also include interesting advertisements of banks, businesses, schools, products for industry agriculture or the home, etc.

You can search and browse in many different ways, applying filters to narrow down your search. The interface can be displayed in either German or English though all the content and the metadata describing the publications are in German.

Please send feedback to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk by 15 March 2018.

More titles on Cambridge Histories Online available: Cambridge World History and many more

CHO - WWII coverI’m pleased to report that Oxford readers can now access more titles in the online Cambridge Histories Online portal. The newly added ebooks of interest to historians are:

  • The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy (2 vols.)
  • The Cambridge History of Witchcraft and Magic in the West
  • The Cambridge History of the Second World War (3 vols.)
  • The Cambridge Economic History of Australia
  • The Cambridge History of Capitalism (2 vols.)
  • The Cambridge History of China, Volume 5 (part 2) & Volume 9 (part 2)
  • The Cambridge History of Scandinavia (to be complete in 2 vols.)
  • The Cambridge World History (to be complete in 9 vols.)

The catalogue records for these ebooks will appear in SOLO in due course. In the meantime you can find these by searching Cambridge Histories Online in SOLO.

Historical statistics and censuses on the web: suggestions

I’ve had occasion to research some online resources for historical statistics, usually digitised statistical series rather than proper databases. They tendcover vital statistics, population & demographic, economic and finance data. Some also include census data and census reports.

Screenshot from Annuaire statistique (1914-15): population numbers by region. (from Gallica: bibliothèque numérique, 3 April 2012)

Below is a listing of some of the findings. It is not comprehensive! Do make suggestions for anything important that I’ve missed.

Great Britain

Economic and Social Data Service: History (now part of UK Data Archive, use Discover to limit searches to History)

The Economic and Social Data Service is a national data archiving and dissemination service which came into operation in January 2003. The service is a jointly-funded initiative sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Includes data from UK Data Archive.

The data typically tends to be focussed collection, created often as part of research. ESDS is free to HE but requires individual registration first. More 100+ datasets are available and cover all periods.
Examples:
Trans-national Database and Atlas of Saints’ Cults, c.700-2000
Glasgow Householders, 1832-1911
Wage Negotiations, British Coal Industry, 1870-1914
Aberdeen University Students, 1860-1920
British Speeches, 1870-1914 and German Speeches, 1871-1912
Interwar Trade Dataset, 1900-1939
etc.

Histpop – The Online Historical Population Reports Website

The Online Historical Population Reports (OHPR) collection provides online access to the complete British population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937. The collection goes far beyond the basic population reports with a wealth of textual and statistical material which provide an in-depth view of the economy, society (through births, deaths and marriages) and medicine during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These 200,000 pages of census and registration material for the British Isles are supported by numerous ancillary documents from The National Archives, critical essays and transcriptions of important legislation which provide an aid to understanding the context, content and creation of the collection.

A Vision of Britain through Time

An e-portal to over 12 million facts about places and lives in Britain, including new-to-view historic boundary maps, a land use survey that helped to defeat Hitler, unemployment and wage records, farm surveys from 1866. Includes two centuries’ worth of facts, figures, surveys, maps, election results and travel writing showing how 15,000 UK places have changed.

Ireland

Census of Ireland 1901-11

View the Irish 1901 Census and perform a variety of searches under forename, surname and county as well as more advanced searches including religion, occupation, Irish language proficiency, specified illnesses and literacy status. Includes household returns and ancillary records for 32 counties for 1901-1911

HNAG Database of Irish Historical Statistics

The Database is intended as a common resource for all scholars working in the field of Irish economic history, covering largely 19th and 20th economic and social history.

Data sets are available for the following:
agriculture
finance
industry
labor
population
finance
trade

Germany

Statistisches Jahrbuch für das Deutsche Reich 1880-1941/2

The digital version of an important publication of German economic and trade statistics.

Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland

The website of Germanys’ national Statistisches Bundesamt. Not so much historical statistics but useful for contemporary historians. Check out the GENESIS-Online database.

Historische Datenbank (Lehrstuhl für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Universität Münster)

Provides access to a wide selection of historical statistics on the economic history of Germany since 1850. You will need to download the excel file with the index and click on a data set to get the statistics.

Switzerland

Statistik Schweiz – Bundesamt für Statistik

The website of the Swiss governmental department for statistics.

France

Annuaire statistique (France) 1900-35

Digitised version of Annuaire statistique / Ministère du commerce, de l’industrie, des postes et télégraphes, Office du travail, Statistique générale de la France.

La Statistique Générale de la France
This survey includes the following historical statistical datasets relating to France:

Les recensements de 1901 à 1921.
Les mouvements de la population de 1836 à 1925.
L’enseignement primaire et secondaire de 1865 à 1906.
La statistique industrielle de 1861 à 1896.
Les recensements de 1851 à 1921.
Les mouvements de la population de 1800 à 1925.
L’enseignement primaire de 1829 à 1897.
Territoire et population de 1800 à 1890.

Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (INSEE)

The website of the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies which is responsible for the production and analysis of official statistics in France. It collects and publishes information on the French economy and society, carrying out the periodic national census. Located in Paris, it is the French branch of Eurostat, European Statistical System. The INSEE was created in 1946 as a successor to the National Statistics Service (SNS) created under Vichy during World War II.

Spain

Anuarios Estadísticos de España 1858-1997

Online statistical yearbooks for Spain covering 1858-1970. A link is provided to yearbooks for 1997-.

The yearbooks compile, with a great richness of content, statistical information from various sources, with the aim of offering a quantitative reflection of the economic, social and demographic reality of Spain and of its territories – both peninsular and insular – overseas provinces and all other territories over the last 150 years.

With the publication of these works, the INE offers an interesting radiography of Spanish contemporary history to all its users.

Unfortunately, the series of yearbooks presents big gaps in its first years of history, producing jumps that in some cases correspond to periods of more than 20 years, during which yearbooks where not published. In this way, we come across an interval of 24 years from the first yearbook of 1888 to the following, which was carried out in 1912. The series has not been interrupted since 1943.

Italy

Serie storiche

A beta version of historical statistics for Italy. The data, available in a downloadable format are organized into 22 subject areas. For some topics – such as health, justice, demographics, foreign trade – the time series ranging from 1861 to today. Each series is accompanied by a history of sources.

Netherlands

Dutch Censuses 1795-1971 (Volkstellingen)

The Volkstellingen 1795-1971 (Dutch Censuses) website enables you to view or download most of the Dutch census tables, published in the period 1795-1971. The original records were scanned and digitized and are now freely available as images as well as MS Excel tables. In addition to the Excel record tables, this site includes many of the original census documents in Adobe PDF format.

Since 1997, the digitization of the data was accomplished during the course of three projects: Dutch Census Digitization 1795-1971, Dutch Census Data and Life Courses in Context. As a result of these three projects over 40,000 record pages were made digitally available to the public. [from EHPS]

Dutch National accounts, 1800-1914

The website reconstructs national income data concerning income, prices, foreign trade, production, employment and capital formation from 1800 to 1913. As well as offering an interpretative research report, the website gives access to statistics in html and downloadable as excel files.

Denmark

Dansk Demografisk Database (Danish Demographic Database)

In the Danish Demographic Database you can search for information in different sources.
Censuse: Danish census records from 1787 and onwards.
Emigrants: Information from the Copenhagen police on emigrants from Copenhagen or via Hamburg
Censuses from St. Croix
Probate Index from the counties: Thisted, Viborg, Aalborg, Randers
Other databases in Danish:
Dansk Ostindiske Personalia
Dannebrogsmænd: Personer nævnt i festskrift og fra 1864
Kirkebøger: Database med indtastede kirkebøger. Kirkebøgerne er opdelt efter begivenhed.

Sweden

Historical Monetary Statistics of Sweden 1668-2008 (Historisk monetär statistik i Sverige 1668-2008)

A website which reconstruct historical monetary statistics of Sweden from 1668 (the founding year of the Riksbank) to the present. A preliminary version of a database is now online. Some of the time series stretch back to the early Middle Ages. The database is organised around the following sections: Prices. A Consumer Price Index is presented for the whole period 1290-2006 – Wages, from 1540 onwards. – Exchange rates. Contains exchange rates between various currency units existing in Sweden 1291-1834 and foreign exchange rates from 1658 onwards. – Money supply and closely related-related aggregates from 1871 onwards – Stock exchange and interest rates from 1856 onwards. – Central government loans from 1668 onwards.

Historia.se – Historicalstatistics.org

Historicalstatistics.org is a portal for historical statistics, incl. National accounts 1800-2000 with the main focus on macroeconomic data on Sweden in the 19th and 20th centuries. Series are presented, for example, on GDP, inflation, employment, interest rates, exchange rates, population, money supply, capital stocks, worked hours, wages, profit rates and business cycle indicators.

Includes links to both Swedish and international data on historical statistics.

Related links:

Historical Statistics of the US [available to Oxford users]

European History Primary Sources: statistics