I first presented a paper at EBHS in 1996 in Savannah. My first, publication was in Essays in Economic and Business History. I go to the meeting whenever I can take the train or drive in a reasonable amount of time (say 12 hours or so), and I have published a couple more papers in Essays. EBHS has changed a great deal over the last twenty years. It has become much more international. Many of the members come from Europe, and there is an increasing number from Asia. Every other year the meeting is held outside the United States. This year it was in Montreal. Next year it will be in Oklahoma City, and in 2018 it will be in Finland. The editors of Essays have made it an open access online journal, with an impressive editorial board. What hasn’t changed is that the EBHS meeting always demonstrates that historians and economists (and even some business types) can coexist, not just peacefully, but happily and productively. As long as the methodology seems appropriate for the question, people just want to hear what you have to say. The sessions are well attended, and the questions and comments are thoughtful. EBHS is particularly welcoming of people just starting their academic careers.
Fan Fei won the Lynne Doti award for the best paper by a graduate student for his work on interstate highways and the decline of general stores. Fei is graduate student in the Economics Department at Michigan. You can find his job market paper here.
Soudeh Mirgashemi won the Fred Batemen prize for the best paper for her work on dams and agricultural development in the West in the early twentieth century. She did her Ph. D. at Arizona and just finished her first year teaching at Hofstra. Soudeh presented at the same session as Nikola Tynan and Leslie Tomory. Nikola’s paper (coauthored with Brian Beach and Werner Troesken) showed a large drop in typhoid deaths following municipalization of water works in English cities. Leslie presented work on the history of the London water supply. I found it interesting that he said he began the work after he finished a book on the gas industry. Since Werner also started with the gas industry (the Chicago gas trust) it suggests there are economies of scope involved in the study of networks of pipe.
Brad Sturgill and Dan Giedeman won the James Soltow Award for the best paper published in Essays the previous year.