Making (marketing) history!

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 20 March 2009



Brian Jones, D.G. (2009), "Making (marketing) history!", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 1 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Making (marketing) history!

Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Volume 1, Issue 1

Welcome to readers of the new Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, the only periodical exclusively dedicated to publishing historical research in marketing. There is a significant and growing amount of interest and scholarly work in historical research in marketing, but there was no journal exclusively dedicated to publishing that work – until now. The Journal of Historical Research in Marketing will provide a home for this scholarship, publishing research about marketing history and the history of marketing thought. Our objective is to provide a forum for a wide range of historical research about marketing. The journal welcomes high quality, original research that encompasses a broad range of historical purposes, approaches, philosophical positions, and methodologies. The unifying theme is its historical orientation.

For our purposes here, marketing is defined broadly to include the activities involved in commercial exchange and other commercial-like activities. Marketing history includes, but is not limited to, the histories of advertising, retailing, channels of distribution, product design and branding, pricing strategies, and consumption behaviour – all studied from the perspective of companies, industries, or even whole economies. The history of marketing thought examines marketing ideas, concepts, theories, and schools of marketing thought including the lives and times of marketing thinkers. This includes biographical studies as well as histories of institutions and associations involved in the development of the marketing discipline. Historiographic essays will also be welcome as long as they are grounded in a marketing context. The journal is also international in its scope with editors and an editorial advisory board representing eight different countries.

To give history its due, the Journal of Advertising History, published from 1977 through 1988, was resurrected in 2002 as the Journal of Marketing History, an online journal that published only one issue. Various business history journals, from time to time, do publish material about marketing history and occasionally historical research finds its way into a few of the mainstream marketing periodicals. The Journal of Macromarketing includes a section for articles about macromarketing history and Marketing Theory does invite articles about the history of marketing thought. Yet, none of these outlets specializes in historical research in marketing.

I include myself among those who believe that history needs no justification, that it is valuable in its own right and for its own sake. However, marketing is an applied discipline and some readers may prefer a more tangible defense of a journal specializing in historical research. To those readers I offer the following. History broadens and deepens our understanding of marketing. It provides a context and perspective for contemporary marketing practices and ideas. It can also provide a means of developing and testing marketing theory.

How did marketing history earn “journal ready” status? Despite a long tradition of historical research about marketing, both by scholars working within the marketing discipline and by those in business history more generally, there was little institutionalization of this research until the early 1980s. In 1983, the first North American Workshop on Historical Research in Marketing was held at Michigan State University. That conference, now known as the Conference on Historical Analysis & Research in Marketing (CHARM), has been held biennially ever since.

In 1985 and 1988, the Association for Consumer Research and American Marketing Association, respectively, held conferences that included a major focus on historical research in marketing. In 1990, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science published a special issue on the history of marketing thought. All but one of those articles was originally a paper presented at CHARM. From 1994-2007, 47 historical articles were published in the Journal of Macromarketing, most of which were first presented at a CHARM conference.

Other journals to feature special issues on historical research in marketing include Psychology & Marketing in 1998 and Marketing Theory in 2005. In the UK, the University of Reading hosted conferences in 1991 and again in 1993 on historical research in marketing that resulted in the publication in 1993 of The Rise and Fall of Mass Marketing edited by Richard Tedlow and Geoffrey Jones. The strong interest in marketing history in the UK is further demonstrated by the establishment in 1998 of the Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution at the University of Wolverhampton which hosts annual workshops and conferences.

Such was the historical setting when, during the CHARM conference hosted by the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University in 2007, discussions were held by members of the CHARM Board of Directors about the possibility of founding a journal dedicated to publishing historical research in marketing. At the Sunday general meeting of that conference, there was wider discussion about those plans. Later that afternoon, on May 20, 2007 at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Durham, North Carolina, a decision was made to submit a proposal to Emerald Publishing. We recognized at the outset that our choice of editorial advisory board members would be critical to the quality and legitimacy of the journal. A list of 30 prospective members of such a board was developed, all outstanding scholars representing marketing history, business history, and the marketing discipline in general. That all 30 agreed to serve on this important steering committee was further confirmation of the appropriateness of this initiative. The board’s support and advice have been invaluable over the past 18 months.

By the end of summer 2007, a proposal had been submitted to, and accepted by, Emerald Publishing. The staff at Emerald has been enthusiastically supportive and we thank them for joining us in this venture. Calls for submissions were publicized beginning in September, 2007 and as I write this editorial in late November of 2008, we have interesting, high-quality content that will fill the first two issues and beyond. Confirmed as well are plans for three subsequent special issues, one on the history of retailing in North America, guest edited by Tracey Deutsch of the University of Minnesota, one about retailing history in the UK entitled “Beyond the shop: acquisition and exchange outside the formal market,” to be guest edited by Laura Ugolini and John Benson of the University of Wolverhampton, and the third issue celebrating the contributions to historical research in marketing by Donald Dixon, guest edited by Eric Shaw and Ian Wilkinson. Our manuscript submission flow is encouraging and the quality of submissions has been particularly high.

We will publish two “bumper” issues in 2009, this special issue and a general issue in July. Beginning in January 2010, the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing will begin a quarterly schedule of publication. A distinctive feature of the journal will be a regular section titled “Explorations and Insights” (E&I) edited by Stanley Shapiro. As described in his editorial elsewhere in this issue, Stan took our original proposal for a book review section and turned it into something we believe will be a distinguishing feature of this journal. Each E&I section will provide a fascinating range of material not normally found in an academic journal but nevertheless deserving attention and promising to be of interest to all readers.

The growing body of historical research in marketing published since the early 1980s was once labeled by Stanley C. Hollander as the “new marketing history.” If there ever was a father or product champion of this new marketing history, that person surely was Stan Hollander (Plate 1) who, unfortunately, passed away in March 2004. Whether it involved organizing the CHARM conferences, editing the marketing history section of the Journal of Macromarketing, editing special history issues of other marketing journals, or editing anthologies of marketing history articles, Stan created opportunities for others to publish their historical research in marketing. In that way, he made it possible for many others to share his passion for marketing history.

Plate 1 Stanley C. Hollander in the library

That passion was evident in his own work and in the many awards and distinctions he earned during an academic career that spanned half a century (Merchants Council Award, NYU, 1964; Teaching & Research Leadership Award, American Collegiate Retailing Association, 1980; elected to the Retail Education Hall of Fame; Michigan State University Distinguished Scholar Award, 1982; Outstanding Marketing Educator Award, Academy of Marketing Science, 1991; citations in a number of Who’s Who directories). There was never any thought in our minds but that the first issue of this new journal would be a celebration of the contributions to historical research in marketing by Stanley C. Hollander.

Honoring Stanley C. Hollander

Stan Hollander’s academic career began during the early 1950s and was largely defined by his contributions to the field of retailing. It was his doctoral studies of early forms of discount retailing that inspired a strong historical orientation. He went on to publish important historical work on the wheel of retailing, multinational retailing, small scale retailing, and the interaction of regulatory forces and social pressures on retailing. An admitted Anglophile, Hollander also developed and maintained a strong interest in British retailing history. His important historical study of relationship marketing was an outgrowth of interest in retailing and channels of distribution. Another topic in which he was interested early in his career and to which he made an important contribution was the history of salesmanship and selling. As research on the history of marketing thought developed, Hollander was a lone voice for documenting the contributions to marketing thought by practitioners, regulators, and other observers whose ideas were recorded in the trade press, industry conventions, and in legislation – not only those by marketing academics in the scholarly press. Perhaps, Hollander’s most important yet under appreciated historical work involved his challenge of the history of “the marketing concept,” a concept which was, and still is, widely believed to have heralded a revolution in marketing practice and thought during the 1950s. Finally, late in his career Hollander published work on historical method even though he was anything but a methodological zealot. Sadly, time ran out for him before he could contribute planned studies of the histories of surrogate buyers and retail conglomerates.

This special issue begins with a reprint of Hollander’s autobiographical article that appeared in a 1995 issue of the Journal of Macromarketing. It is a favorite of many of Stan’s disciples. That article sets the stage for the rest of this collection beginning with Robert Nason’s sensitive look at Hollander’s life and career in “An uncommon scholar.” Nason was first a student of Hollander’s and later a colleague at Michigan State University for almost 20 years. He provides a unique perspective on Stan’s character as a scholar and as a human being.

In “Stanley C. Hollander and the Conferences on Historical Analysis & Research in Marketing,” Eric Shaw, Deborah Goldring and I document the history of the CHARM conferences founded in 1983 and nurtured by Hollander for 20 years. Stephen Brown then gives us a wonderfully entertaining and insightful analysis of Hollander’s writing in “A litotes of what you fancy: some thoughts on Stanley Hollander’s writing style.” Brown’s own writing style is unique and well known to marketing professors who will recognize this piece as another in his series of penetrating critiques of the writing styles of brilliant marketing scholars.

The call for papers for this special issue invited submissions, not just about Stan Hollander’s work and career, but about topics that were near and dear to Stan’s intellectual interests in marketing history. Terry Witkowski’s very personal history of small retailing, titled “General book store in Chicago, 1938-1947: linking neighborhood to nation,” uses a wide range of primary source material including store financial records, family photographs, representative artifacts and ephemera, oral history interviews, and period retailing literature, to present a detailed account of small retailing. Terry’s article is reminiscent of Hollander’s (2001) history of small retail rental libraries and answers Hollander’s (1995) call for studies of the social and cultural roles of retailing. The last full article in this issue is Mark Tadajewski’s “Competition, cooperation and open price associations: relationship marketing and Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920)”. Mark picks up a theme from Hollander’s doctoral dissertation, price determination and competition, and extends later work by Hollander (1998) on relationship marketing.

Our Associate Editors – Eric Shaw, Peggy Cunningham, Mark Tadajewski, and Stanley Shapiro – join me in hoping that you find the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing interesting and useful in your own scholarship. We invite all concerned to participate, both as reader and writer, in this important endeavor.

D.G. Brian Jones


Hollander, S.C. (1995), “My life on Mt. Olympus”, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 15, pp. 86–106 (reprinted in this issue)

Hollander, S.C. (1998), “Lost in the library”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 62, pp. 114–23

Hollander, S.C. (2001), “From the editors – marketing history”, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 3–4

Further Reading

Keep, W.W., Hollander, S.C. and Dickinson, R. (1998), “Forces impinging on long-term business-to-business relationships: an historical perspective”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 62 No. 2, pp. 31–45|

Rassuli, K. and Hollander, S.C. (2001), “Revolving, not revolutionary books: the history of rental libraries until 1960”, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 21, pp. 123–34

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