PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to review a popular business handbook – The Business Guide – by James L. Nichols, first published around the turn of the twentieth century. The analysis is geared toward determining how it fits within the development of marketing thought and education.Design/methodology/approachA review of the marketing history literature focusing on marketing thought, education and practice around the turn of the twentieth century is conducted. The content of The Business Guide is analyzed and compared with the themes reflected in the literature review.FindingsMost editions appeared in the era just proceeding the emergence of marketing as distinct discipline. It is unlikely that it had any appreciable influence on the development of marketing thought. However, it was used as a textbook at North-Western College in Naperville, IL, and may have been at other early business education programs in the USA and Canada. Nichols’ treatment of marketing topics was consistent with the era. It reflected commodities and functional views. For him, marketing was primarily distribution along with advertising, pricing, product management and credit. Consistent with modern marketing philosophy, Nichols placed heavy emphasis on ethics.Originality/valueDespite the fact that this book was published in multiple editions over several decades, it seems to have been largely forgotten. As far as is known, this paper is the only recent treatment of this historical artifact.
Journal of Historical Research in Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 21, 2016
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