Mavericks and Mavens of Business History: Miriam Beard and Henrietta Larson
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
Date Written: December 2001
This is the story of two women with differing visions about business who have largely been forgotten. Miriam Beard, the maverick daughter of Progressive reformers Charles and Mary Beard, wrote the first international cultural history of the businessman in 1938. Henrietta M. Larson was Harvard Business School`s first lady, the first female faculty member and the first woman to be tenured there. The two women never met or interacted. Yet their lives and histories were entangled when one woman, Henrietta, wrote a critical review about the contributions of the other. This article uses their untold story to trace the contentious process of professionalization that sidelined one maverick outsider and kept a maven insider on the margins of a fledgling discipline she had helped to create. Its significance is to make gender central to the reintegration of business and culture and of women`s roles in the historiography of business.
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