The Francis M. Wheat Award ($500) honors the best demonstration of significant scholarship in the Southern California Quarterly by an established historian.
Carl Irving Wheat, born in Massachusetts, graduated with honors from Pomona College in 1915. After a tour of duty with the ambulance service in France in 1917, Wheat graduated from Harvard Law School in 1920. He became the first editor when the organization’s annual publication became the Southern California Quarterly in March 1935. He published extensively on California history, including the five volume Mapping the Trans-Mississippi West, 1540-1861 and Books of the California Gold Rush. He was one of the first members of the Zamorano Club and served as director of the California Historical Society and was editor of its Quarterly, making him one of the sole figures to be editor of two California historical journals.
Francis (Frank) Millspaugh Wheat was born in Los Angeles, and like his father Carl he attended Pomona College. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1942 and then earned a master’s degree from Harvard’s School of Business Administration. He was a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II, serving in Europe and the Pacific. He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1948. A Los Angeles securities lawyer, Frank Wheat was a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1964 to 1969. He was a founding member and co-chair of the California Commission on Campaign Financing and served as a member of the California Citizens Budget Committee. Frank Wheat worked in support of the California Desert Protection Act (1994) and published California Desert Miracle: The Fight for Desert Parks and Wilderness in 1999.
In 2001, an award originally named for Carl Irving Wheat was revised and endowed as the Francis M. Wheat Award.
The award is selected by the editorial board. There is no application or nomination process.
Cherstin M. Lyon, “Portals and Praxis in Japanese American Public History,” Southern California Quarterly 98:3 (Fall 2016): 259-274.
Natalia Molina, “The Importance of Place and Place-Makers in the Life of a Los Angeles Community: What Gentrification Erases from Echo Park” Southern California Quarterly 97, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 69-111
Lon Kurashige for “Re-Thinking Anti-Immigrant Racism: Lessons from the Los Angeles Vote on the 1920 Alien Land Law,” Southern California Quarterly 95, 3 (2013): 265-83.