K. Austin Kerr Prize

K. Austin Kerr The K. Austin Kerr Prize is awarded for the best first paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Business History Conference by a new scholar (doctoral student or those within three years of receiving their Ph.D.). It honors K. Austin Kerr, professor of history at the Ohio State University since 1965 and president of the Business History Conference during 1992-1993. Author of many books and articles in business history, and a founder of H-Business, Professor Kerr has always encouraged excellence in scholarship and in professional and classroom presentations. Criteria for awarding the prize include scholarly excellence; innovation in subject, method, or findings; and effectiveness of presentation. Presentations at the Krooss Dissertation Prize sessions are not eligible for the Kerr Prize. Persons who have also presented in the Krooss Prize sessions at previous BHC annual meetings are eligible for the Kerr Prize as long as they are graduate students or within three years of receiving their Ph.D. The Kerr Prize Committee is to consist of four members, one of whom will serve as chair. Each member serves a three-year term, rotating onto the committee as junior member, then becoming chair (or co-chair), and then exiting after serving a final year as senior member. Potential awardees will be asked to designate themselves as such and to submit their paper in advance of the meeting, by a specified date. The Kerr Prize Committee will evaluate the papers in advance, selecting up to 15 finalists whose presentations they will attend during the annual meeting. The Committee will meet prior to the awards ceremony to make a decision that will be announced by the Committee chair at the ceremony.


2017: Kelly Kean Sharp,  University of California, Davis

  • "'No Free Market: The Enslaved Marketwoman and Butchers of Charleston's Centre Market Stalls"

2016: Robert Cole, New York University

  • "'Making Immovable Wealth Movable': Land Finance and Rural Money in 1930s Shanxi"

2015: Paige Glotzer, Johns Hopkins University 

  • "National Standards, Local Sales: The Professional Culture of Real Estate and the Creation of an Exclusionary Housing Market"

Joseph Slaughter, University of Maryland, College Park 

  • "Christian Business Enterprise Reform: The Pioneer Line, 1828-1831"


2014: Elizabeth Ann Semler, University of Minnesota

  • "Public Health or Industry Health? U.S. Government Responses to the 1970s Dietary Cholesterol–Heart Disease Controversy"


2013: Anne Fleming, Harvard Law School

  • "The 'very fibre of personal finance': Changing Beliefs about Regulation and the Small-Sum Lending Industry in New York, 1900-1940"
    • Honorable Mention:
      • Joshua Specht, Harvard University
        • "Hard Winters, International Capital, and the Rise and Fall of the Land and Cattle Company in the United States"


2012: Gabriel N. Rosenberg, Duke University

  • "The Programa Interamericano para la Juventud Rural and the Cultivation of Agribusiness and U.S. Hegemony in Cold-War Latin America"
    • Honorable Mentions:
      • Kate Epstein, Rutgers University-Camden
        • "Arms and the State: American Torpedoes, Intellectual Property Rights, and the Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex before World War I"
      • Judge Glock, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
        • "The Federal Housing Administration: Did It Really Favor the Suburbs?"


2011: Di Yin Lu, Harvard University

  • "Shanghai's Art Dealers and the International Market for Chinese Art, 1922-1949"
    • Honorable Mentions:
      • Kelly Arehart, College of William & Mary
        • " 'To Put a Mass of Putrefying Animal Matter into a Fine Plush Casket': The Development of Professional Knowledge among Morticians, 1880-1920"
      • Johan Mathew, Harvard University
        • "Controlling Currency and Sm uggling Specie in the Arabian Sea, 1873-1966"


2010: Rob Goldberg, University of Pennsylvania

  • "Black Power in the Dollhouse: Shindana Toys and the Business of Social Change"


2009: Alexander Engel, University of Göttingen

  • "Coloring Markets: The Industrial Transformation of the Dyestuff Business Revisited"


2008: Paula Gajewski, Vanderbilt University

  • "Expanding Connections between the New York Stock Exchange and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act"


2007: Eric Hintz, University of Pennsylvania

  • "Independent Inventors in an Era of Burgeoning Research & Development"


2006: Michelle Craig McDonald, Harvard Business School

  • "The Drink of Diplomats: Government Intervention in the U.S. Coffee Re-Export Trade, 1790-1805"


2005: Sharon Ann Murphy, University of Virginia

  • "Protecting Middle-Class Families: Life Insurance in Antebellum America"


2004: Hyungsub Choi, Johns Hopkins University

  • "Between Research and Production: Making Transistors at RCA, 1948-1960"

Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, San Jose State University

  • "The Ties That Buy: Shopping Networks of the Atlantic World"


2003: Elysa Engelman, Boston University

  • "Dear Mrs. Pinkham: Expanding Intimate Advice Networks into a National Community of Consumers, 1890 to 1935"

Marlis Schweitzer, University of Toronto

  • "Uplifting Makeup: Actresses' Testimonials and the Cosmetics Industry, 1910-1918"