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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Earlier this year, Dr. Kenneth Wheeler, professor of history, published “Modern Cronies: Southern Industrialism from Gold Rush to Convict Labor, 1829-1894.” This book, which illustrates the significant impact of the southern gold rush in the development of the southeastern United States, was the culmination of research and writing over several years. That industrious work was recognized last week with an award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of Archives from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council (GHRAC).

“In my research for the book, which included archives outside of Georgia, I also used archival holdings in the state archives in Morrow; at the University of Georgia, Emory University, and Reinhardt University; at the Atlanta History Center, the Cherokee County Historical Society, the Bartow History Museum; and various county courthouses,” said Wheeler.  “My book would not exist without the sustained efforts of many people to collect and preserve the historical past and make these documents and images available to researchers.”

Wheeler was nominated for the award by Jeff Bishop, executive director of the Funk Heritage Center, located on the Reinhardt campus. “At GHRAC, we promote the use of archives in research and publishing to increase awareness of our rich array of repositories in Georgia,” said Bishop, who is also a member of GHRAC. “When I read Dr. Wheeler’s book it was immediately apparent that he would be an ideal candidate for recognition.

‘Modern Cronies’ digs deep into the archival records of the rise of Georgia’s 19th-century politicians and businessmen, and most especially Joseph Brown, Georgia’s Civil War governor. Others on the committee strongly believed that Dr. Wheeler’s book was worthy of recognition. I couldn’t be prouder of Ken Wheeler and his endeavor. It increased the visibility of our archives and their value and recognizes Reinhardt as an incubator of first-class research. Dr. Wheeler’s contribution to academic discourse reflects well not only of him, but of his institution. I was happy to recognize his important efforts.”

Each year, the GHRAC recognizes outstanding archives and records work in Georgia. The Archive Awards Program was established in 2003 to improve the condition of records across the state, and promotes the use of Georgia’s documentary heritage for education.

Learn more about the Archive Awards Program and the criteria for the awards at

Learn more about Wheeler’s book at