Life Of The Scholar (LOTS) Program Set for Sept. 18 at Gardner-Webb

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Dr. Timothy Vanderburg to Share Lecture on History, Importance of Southern Cotton Mills

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The latest Life of the Scholar (LOTS) event at Gardner-Webb University will give the audience an inside look at the life and contributions of James William Cannon, the founder of Cannon Mills, and creator of the model mill village of Kannapolis, N.C. Dr. Timothy Vanderburg, professor of history at GWU, will serve as guest speaker for the event, and will examine the powerful paternalism that Cannon established and how mill workers responded to it.

The lecture will be held Thursday, Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Hope Hall of the Tucker Student Center. Refreshments and a book signing will follow.  The event is free and open to the public.

In his book, “Cannon Mills and Kannapolis: Persistent Paternalism in a Textile Town,” Vanderburg discusses the importance of cotton mills throughout the South and their role in North Carolina’s rich heritage. The book was released last fall.

Vanderburg, who was raised in Concord, N.C., has studied aspects of the textile mill industry, specifically Cannon Mills, for decades.  “I grew up in the shadow of the mill (right next to Kannapolis) and had two grandparents who worked there most of their adult life,” he shared.  “My father had worked there when I was younger, and I had a brother who worked there for a while.  When I was in grad school, my master’s thesis was on Cannon Mills’ advertising from 1935 through 1950.  My research later expanded to include the specific type of paternalism used by Cannon Mills, why it was different and so persistent.”

Vanderburg earned a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1994 and graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in History in May 2001 from Mississippi State University.  His doctoral dissertation was titled “Cannon Mills:  A Case Study in Southern Industrialization.” He is also set to present information from his book during the upcoming Southern Appalachian Culture Series, set for Oct. 3-4 at Gardner-Webb.

His book is available from the University of Tennessee Press, as well as via  “Cannon Mills and Kannapolis:  Persistent Paternalism in a Textile Town” was nominated for the internationally renowned Hagley Prize in Business History in 2014.

More information about the LOTS program and this event is available by contacting Dr. Kent Blevins, professor of religious studies, at 704-406-4458.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704.406.4264 or email with your request.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).