Lipartito, Kenneth 1957-
Lipartito, Kenneth 1957-
Office—Florida International University, Department of History, DM 397, University Park, Miami, FL 33199; fax: 305-348-3561. E-mail—[email protected]
Historian, educator, writer, and editor. Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, instructor in history, 1985-86; Rice University, Houston, TX, visiting professor of history, 1987-88; University of Houston, Houston, professor of history, 1988-90, associate professor of history, 1991-98; Florida International University, Miami, professor of history, 1998—, and chairman of the department of history.
Economic and Business Historical Society (president, 1996), Phi Beta Kappa.
Allen Nevins Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in American Economic History, 1987; T.R. Fehrenbach Book Award, 1992, for Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Article Award, 1995; Newcomen Award for Excellence in Business History Research and Writing, 1995, for article "Culture and the Practice of Business History," in Business and Economic History; Harold F. Williamson Prize, Business History Conference, 2000; Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Lecture, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, 2002; Abbott Payson Usher Prize, Society for the History of Technology, 2004, for article "The Social Construction of Failure: Picturephone and the Information Age," in Technology and Culture; Research Excellence Award, Florida International University, 2006. Also recipient of grants and fellowships, including Littleton-Griswold Research Grant, American Historical Association, 1991; Newcomen Fellowship, Harvard Business School, 1991-92; Science and Technology Research Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities: Humanities, 1992-94; Science and Technology Studies Grant, National Science Foundation, 1996-98; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Grant, 2000; and National Parks Service Research Grant, U.S. Department of Interior, 2002.
(With Joseph Pratt) Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1991.
(With Carol Heher Peters) Investing for Middle America: John Elliott Tappan and the Origins of American Express Financial Advisors, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Orville R. Butler) A History of the Kennedy Space Center, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2007.
Contributor to books, including Technological Competitiveness: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on the Electrical, Electronics and Computer Industries, edited by William Aspray, IEEE Press, 1993; Americanization and Its Limits: Responses to U.S. Technology and Management in Postwar Europe and Japan, edited by Jonathan Zeitlin and Gary Herrigel, Oxford University Press, 2000; and Grand Hotels of the Jazz Age: The Architecture of Schultze & Weaver, edited by Marianne Lamonaca and John Mogul, Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. Contributor to encyclopedias, including International Encyclopedia of Communications, Oxford University Press, 1989; and Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century, Simon and Schuster, 1995. Contributor to periodicals, including Business History Review, Business and Economic History, Essays in Economic and Business History, Journal of Economic History, Industrial and Corporate Change, Social Science Quarterly, Technology and Culture, and Research on Technological Innovation, Management, and Policy. Editor of Enterprise & Society: The International Journal of Business History, and editorial board member of journal, 1999-2002.
Kenneth Lipartito specializes in economic and business history and the history of technology. He has received several awards for his writings. Most of the author's focus is on U.S. business and technology but he maintains an interest in comparative work in Europe and the Atlantic world. He has written extensively about business history, the history of the global economy, the political economy, the history of technology, as well as Atlantic civilization and twentieth century America.
The author's first book, The Bell System and Regional Business: The Telephone in the South, 1877-1920, evolved from the author's doctoral dissertation. The book explores how the early Bell telephone system expanded from the Northeast on through the South despite the resistance of Southerners to change. Focusing on this resistance, the author examines the company's strategy for overcoming objections to their expansion into the South and also how Bell eventually became the major telephone operating system throughout the United States. "Lipartito's book—carefully researched and filled with acute analysis—ably demonstrates how this all came about through entrepreneurial initiative, conflict, reformulation, and negotiation," wrote Leonard S. Reich in the Business History Review.
With their book Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston, Lipartito and coauthor Joseph Pratt tell the story of one of America's great law firms. Beginning prior to the American Civil War as a two-person firm, Baker & Botts eventually became a huge firm employing more than 400 lawyers and serving an international clientele. This 150-year history of the firm includes a look at the firm's high-profile clients and many of its most controversial cases. The authors also examine the role of corporate law firms in economic development and how these firms influence, via the courts and lobbying, various public policies focusing on business. "As a narrative history of the growth of a major law firm, the book succeeds and will earn a place among the best of the genre," wrote Thomas Palay in the Business History Review.
Lipartito is the author, with Carol Heher Peters, of the 2001 book titled Investing for Middle America: John Elliott Tappan and the Origins of American Express Financial Advisors. The book focuses on the life and career of Tappan, a Minneapolis lawyer who, in the midst of a U.S. depression in 1894, sought to help Americans find financial security by founding the Investors Syndicate, later known as IDS. This pioneering financial institution later became the American Express Financial Advisors. Tappan and Peters, who is Tappan's great-granddaughter, describe how Tappan's revolutionary idea was based on the notion that people could save a little money each month that would eventually lead to security against devastating loss. The authors draw on Tappan's letters, diaries, and family history.
"The book manages … to be much more than a celebratory biography and popular history," wrote Rowena Olegario, in the American Historical Review. "Spanning the period from the Populist uprisings of the late nineteenth century to the Great Depression, Tappan's working life coincided with profound changes in the nation's financial system." Olegario went on to write in the same review that the authors "situate Tappan firmly in his business and cultural milieu."
Lipartito is also the editor, with David B. Sicilia, of Constructing Corporate America: History, Politics, Culture. The book's eleven essays focus on why and how the business corporation has come to exert such a powerful influence on American society, culture, and politics over the past two centuries. Challenging standard assumptions about corporations, contributors look at corporations within the context of being a fully social institution. They examine the legal and political position of the corporations and various controversies concerning corporate regulation. The various contributors also explore how some disadvantaged groups have sought to gain access to resources that corporations control. In the process, the essays draw on a variety of social theories and approaches.
American Historical Review contributor Steven M. Gelber called Constructing Corporate America "a nice historiographic review of postwar scholarship that lays out the limitations of both traditional institutional and biographical corporate history." Writing in the book's introduction, Lipartito and Sicilia point out that the contributors come not only from the discipline of history but also from backgrounds in anthropology, political science, and American studies. The editors also note: "Each … has something interesting and important to say about how the American corporation has been constructed and reconstructed over time and in varying contexts."
A History of the Kennedy Space Center is a collaborative effort between Lipartito and Orville R. Butler. The 2007 book provides a comprehensive history of NASA's famous launch facility located in Cape Canaveral, Florida, with an emphasis on the largely unknown work that takes place before any of the rockets are launched. Given access to various sources, such as the Kennedy Space Center archives and the National Archives, the authors also conducted numerous individual and group interviews to relate the evolution of the methods and technology for preparing, testing, and launching spacecraft. From the first Mercury missions to the Apollo lunar program and the Space Shuttle program, the authors discuss scientific missions, robotic spacecraft, the international Space Station, and the tragic accidents that have taken astronauts' lives. Noting the authors' "fine, vivid prose," a contributor to Publishers Weekly also wrote that the authors "wisely avoid concentrating on the hot-shot astronauts" to tell the tale of engineers and their engineering accomplishments.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Lipartito, Kenneth, and David B. Sicilia, editors, Constructing Corporate America: History, Politics, Culture, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.
American Historical Review, April, 1991, George David Smith, review of The Bell System and Regional Business: The Telephone in the South, 1877-1920, p. 612; October, 1992, Michael R. Belknap, review of Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston, p. 1306; October, 2002, Rowena Olegario, review of Investing for Middle America: John Elliott Tappan and the Origins of American Express Financial Advisors, p. 1235; February, 2006, Steven M. Gelber, review of Constructing Corporate America, p. 198.
Business History, January, 2003, Ranald C. Michie, review of Investing for Middle America, p. 173; April, 2005, Ray Stokes, review of Constructing Corporate America, p. 316.
Business History Review, winter, 1989, Leonard S. Reich, review of The Bell System and Regional Business, p. 961; summer, 1992, Thomas Palay, review of Baker & Botts in the Development ofModern Houston, p. 389; spring, 2005, Howell J. Harris, review of Constructing Corporate America, p. 164.
Choice, April, 2002, T.E. Sullivan, review of Investing for Middle America, p. 1469; January, 2008, J.Z. Kiss, review of A History of the Kennedy Space Center, p. 839.
Food Technology, autumn, 1991, review of The Bell System and Regional Business, p. 558.
Journal of American History, March, 1991, Daniel Pope, review of The Bell System and Regional Business, p. 1375; March 1, 1993, Blaine A. Brownell, review of Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston, p. 1646.
Journal of Economic History, March, 1991, James E. Brittain, review of The Bell System and Regional Business, p. 240; March, 2003, Benjamin Chabot, review of Investing for Middle America, p. 285; September, 2005, Bob Freeland, review of Constructing Corporate America, p. 873.
Journal of Social History, fall, 1992, Claude S. Fischer, review of The Bell System and Regional Business, p. 201.
Journal of Southern History, November, 1991, D. Clayton Brown, review of The Bell System and Regional Business, p. 755; February, 1993, Robert Dean Pope, review of Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston, p. 160.
Public Historian, fall, 1993, review of Baker & Botts in the Development of Modern Houston, p. 126.
Publishers Weekly, August 27, 2001, review of Investing for Middle America, p. 72; June 25, 2007, review of A History of the Kennedy Space Center, p. 48.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2005, review of Constructing Corporate America, p. 113.
Technology and Culture, October, 1991, Milton Mueller, review of The Bell System and Regional Business, p. 1114.
Global Entrepreneurship Center Florida International University Web site,http://www.entrepreneurship.fiu.edu/ (May 18, 2008), faculty profile of author.