Conference: Understanding Markets: Information, Institutions and History, 30.-31.10.2009, Wilmington

A conference to recognize the contributions of Ernest Dichter (Web), and to celebrate the opening for his business records at the Hagley Museum and Library (Web). Sponsored by the Hagley Museum and Library and German Historical Institute, Washington DC (Web)

October 30 and 31, 2009, in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society
Conference-Poster (PDF)
Friday, October 30

  • 8:00 Coffee

8:30 Opening Remarks
Hartmut Berghoff, German Historical Institute: From Practical Know-how to Science-based Management Tool: The Emergence of Modern Marketing in the 20th Century
9:30 Panel 1: Generations and Paradigms
Gerulf Hirt, Georg-August-Universitat Göttingen: Caught Between Goebbels and Dichter: German Ad Experts from National Socialism to the Early Bonn Republic
Kenneth Lipartito, Florida International University: The Politics of Market Knowledge in Post World War II America
Regina Lee Blaszczyk, University of Pennsylvania and Hagley Museum & Library: Psyched over Synthetics: Ernest Dichter, the DuPont Company and the Boomer Consumer
Sean Nixon, University of Essex: Understanding the Ordinary Housewife: Advertising and Consumer Research in Britain 1948-67
Comment: Daniel Raff, University of Pennsylvania

  • 12:00 Lunch

1:00 Keynote Address
Thomas Dichter (independent consultant – international development): Market Research as practiced by Ernest Dichter – Science or Art?
1:30 Panel 2: Marketing Products
Roy Church, University of East Anglia: ‚Is the doctor in?‘ The Changing Role of Salesman in the US Pharmaceutical Industry in the Twentieth Century
Gregory A. Donofrio, University of Minnesota: Self-service: How Gas Stations were Marketed to Women
Ingo Köhler, Göttingen University: Recognizing Car Market Realities: Marketing, PR and Market Research of the German Automobile Industry in the 1970s
Comment: Ferdinando Fasce, University of Genoa

  • 3:30 Break

4:00 Panel 3: Uncertainty
Alexander Engel, Institut für Wirtschafts-und Sozialgeschichte Georg-August-Universität: Into the Blue: Trying to Sell Indian Indigo in Traditional and Modern European Markets, 1780-1910
Jamie Pietruska, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cotton Guessers: Crop Forecasters and Rationalization of Uncertainty in the American Cotton Market, 1894-1905
Alexia Yates, University of Chicago: Why is There No MLS in France? Information and Intermediaries in the Parisian Housing Market in 19th and 20th Centuries
Comment: Uwe Spiekermann, German Historical Institute, Washington DC
6:00 Reception

  • 7:00 Dinner

Saturday, October 31

  • 8:00 Coffee

8:30 Panel 4: Gathering Knowledge
Daniel J. Robinson, University of Western Ontario: Letter Writing, Market Research, and Patent Medicines, 1880-1930
Josh Lauer, University of New Hampshire: Making the Ledgers Talk: Credit Management and the Origins of Retail Data Mining, 1920-1940
Kerstin Brückweh, German Historical Institute, London: “Beware, you could be a target.” A History of Consumer Classification in Britain
Comment: Susan Strasser, University of Delaware

  • 10:30 Break

11:00 Panel 5: States and Markets
Séverine Antigone Marin, University of Strasbourg: Introducing Small Firms to the International Markets: The Debates Over the Commercial Museums in France and Germany, 1880-ca.1910
Stefan Schwarzkopf, Queen Mary University of London: How do States Understand Markets and Consumers? The Uses of Market Research in British Government Departments, 1920-1940
Patrick Hyder Patterson, University of California, San Diego: The Bad Science and the Black Arts: The Reception of Marketing in Socialist Eastern Europe
Comment: Jan Logemann, German Historical Institute
1:00 Closing Comments: Philip Scranton, Rutgers University and Hagley Museum and Library
For further info, please contact Carol Lockman at or 302-658-2400, ext. 243.

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