A History of Small Business in America

Second Edition

By Mansel G. Blackford

232 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5453-2
    Published: May 2003
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6233-9
    Published: November 2003
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7664-5
    Published: November 2003

Luther H. Hodges Jr. and Luther H. Hodges Sr. Series on Business, Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy

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Awards & distinctions

A 2003 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

From the colonial era to the present day, small businesses have been an integral part of American life. First published in 1991 and now thoroughly revised and updated, A History of Small Business in America explores the central but ever-changing role played by small enterprises in the nation's economic, political, and cultural development.

Examining small businesses in manufacturing, sales, services, and farming, Mansel Blackford argues that while small firms have always been important to the nation's development, their significance has varied considerably in different time periods and in different segments of our economy. Throughout, he relates small business development to changes in America's overall business and economic systems and offers comparisons between the growth of small business in the United States to its development in other countries. He places special emphasis on the importance of small business development for women and minorities. Unique in its breadth, this book provides the only comprehensive overview of these significant topics.

About the Author

Mansel Blackford, professor of history at Ohio State University, is well known for his work in American, European, and Asian business history. His most recent book is Fragile Paradise: The Impact of Tourism on Maui, 1959-2000.
For more information about Mansel G. Blackford, visit the Author Page.


"This readable survey goes further than any other work yet written to show the collective importance of small business in different ways at different times in the nation's economic development."--Journal of American History

"Blackford . . . clearly and concisely surveys small businesses' rich history in the US from Colonial times. . . . [He] masterfully contextualizes the changing balances of firm sizes across time, explaining why and how large firms have challenged small businesses in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and service, blending social and cultural factors with the economics and policies that influence success and failure."--Choice

"A cogent and readable addition to our understanding of American business, one that should be strongly considered by anyone teaching an American business history course."--Business History Review