Invitation Letter from MIT

On behalf of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in partnership with the economic and business history communities of Boston, Cambridge, and the surrounding region, it is my pleasure to enthusiastically invite you to our beautiful and historically rich city as the site of the 2018 World Economic History Congress.

In the summer of 2018 it will have been exactly 50 years since the World Economic History Congress was last held in North America (in Bloomington, Indiana in 1968). Boston and Cambridge offer an ideal location as the venue for a return visit to the United States, on account of their many distinguished research universities and colleges, their important role in the development of the American economy, the hundreds of nearby sites of historical interest, and the natural beauty of the surrounding New England region. Notably, Boston and Cambridge lie at the heart of one of the densest concentrations of world-class research universities and colleges to be found anywhere. Within a 10 km radius, this area includes Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts – Boston, and Wellesley College. Looking beyond the immediate urban center, Massachusetts is home to 129 institutions of higher learning, and the remainder of New England hosts an additional 153.

As one of the oldest major cities in the United States, Boston is the hub of a region distinguished for its colorful maritime history, as the site of the movement for American independence, and as the center of the Industrial Revolution in North America. Moreover, 17% of the US Population (nearly 50 million people) live in the corridor between Boston and Washington DC, all easily accessible by auto, bus, train, and air. The most populous parts of Canada (Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces) are also nearby and easily accessible. Opportunities for cultural and recreational activities are abundant, with more than 50 major museums in the immediate area ranging from the Museum of Fine Arts, to the Science Museum and the New England Aquarium, the American Textile History Museum, to the U.S.S. Constitution Museum, to name just a few. Conference attendees may also be interested in visiting the Rare Book collections at the Houghton Library at Harvard University or in the Institute Archives and Special Collections at MIT; the Goldsmith’s-Kress Collection of Economic Literature at the Baker Library at the Harvard Business School; the Clark Nautical Collection at the MIT Museum; the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University; or the significant collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

During the summer months Boston enjoys the typically pleasant weather associated with a maritime climate, with daytime highs rarely exceeding the low-30s. The MIT campus where the conference sessions are hosted is itself situated along the north bank of the Charles River and offers direct access to walking, biking and jogging trails, as well as kayak and canoe rentals for use in the Charles River Basin. The beautiful waterfront of Boston Harbor and ferry service to the Boston Harbor Islands and associated recreational facilities is also easily accessible from the congress venue.

This website will lay out the details of the conference, including site information, classroom facilities, an initial sample of the intellectual and cultural program, transportation information. Hotel accommodations are numerous in the greater Boston area across a wide range of prices, both in walking distance of the conference venue, as well as further out with easy public transportation options. Conference attendees who need to travel on a limited budget will have the option of reserving reduced price lodging in a portion of the MIT residential halls set aside for summer conference housing. Given the use of MIT facilities whenever possible, and the strong financial support already offered by several Schools and Departments at MIT, with additional support expected from the other institutional homes of our organizing committee members, we plan to keep the registration fee low (by the standards of recent Congresses) and to provide financial assistance for as many graduate students as possible to attend at an even more reduced rate.

On behalf of the many economic and business historians centered in Boston and Cambridge, as well as all those represented by the Economic History Association, the Cliometric Society, the Business History Conference, and the Social Science History Association, I want to thank you for considering our conference, the World Economic History Congress in 2018, as a venue for your work.



Anne EC McCants
Professor of History and Director, Concourse Program
Margaret MacVicar Distinguished Faculty Fellow
Housemaster, Burton Conner House
Editor, Social Science History