It is one of the ironies of economic historiography that the country which gave birth to the Historical School of Economics should have come to play such a relatively minor role in the field of modern economic history. The irony lies in the fact that the Historical School, although it emphasized historical studies at the expense of theory, did see economic history as an integral part of economics. Its founders recognized that the main purpose of economic history is to elucidate the problem of economic development, to search for “development laws,” and in attempting to accomplish that mission, they made use of economic theory. From around the 1870's, however, interest in these ties to mainstream economics began to recede; emphasis on institutional and legal studies, collection of sources, and sheer antiquarianism grew ever more important. Since then, German economic historians, increasingly producing economic history without economics, have been playing Hamlet without the Prince. The present character of the field in Germany is reflected in the fact that German economic historians are de facto and de jure social historians as well. Indeed, many university chairs, the principal West German journal (Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte—hereafter cited as VSWG), and the German counterpart to our Economic History Association (Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte) do grant formal priority to social history.