This online archive and reference center was created Michael Gagnon, PhD, a Professor of History at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia, initially to help him organize the historical research he had done on Southern and national history during the 1820s-1840s, and to make that information available to his upper division students. Dr. Gagnon was the first historian on staff, coming onboard at GGC in June 2007, and has always attempted to  engage his students in using local history sources so that history becomes real because it is attached to a place, usually a place that the student cares about.

Dr. Michael Gagnon

While starting the research of a biography of Augustin Smith Clayton, a Georgia politician of the Early Republic (1810s through 1830s), Gagnon attended a pedagogy workshop at Emory University in 2014, and learned how to easily construct this website. Not only has Dr. Gagnon made available thousands of newspaper articles detailing the political issues and cultural background of the early years of the Antebellum South, but he also added reference pages for searching historical newspapers that he created for his own use so that others may also use them. He also added census data resources that he used when he taught the US Economic history course at GGC. These census sources include the manuscript censuses both for free and enslaved people, and he specifically extracted Gwinnett County data for students to explore.

Gagnon’s first book was Transition to an Industrial South: Athens, Georgia, 1830-1870, published by Louisiana State University Press in 2012. He co-edited and contributed to a collection of essays on the history of Gwinnett County, Gwinnett County, Georgia and the Transformation of the American South, 1818-2018, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2022. He continues to work on his biography of Augustin Smith Clayton (1783-1839) under the working title of Judge Clayton of Georgia, A Life in the Early Republic.