PPhillip Shaw Paludan
SPRINGFIELD – Phillip Shaw Paludan, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War and historian at the University of Illinois at Springfield, died Wednesday, August 1, after struggling with a long illness. Dr. Paludan held UIS' first distinguished chair – the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies – established in 2001.
Speaking on behalf of the entire UIS campus community, Chancellor Richard Ringeisen expressed deep sadness over Dr. Paludan's death. "The loss of this great man is deeply felt by everyone at this university. It was a great privilege to count Phil Paludan among our faculty and to know him for the exceptional human being that he was," Ringeisen said. "His presence raised the stature of this institution, and so we are honored to have had him as long as we did."
One of the nation's foremost authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, Dr. Paludan began his tenure at UIS in August 2001 in the History Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He had previously won many awards for his scholarship on Lincoln and the Civil War, including the prestigious Lincoln Prize, awarded by the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute at Gettysburg College, for his 1994 book The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The book was hailed by critics as "the most comprehensive modern treatment of that crucial period in American history" and an "indispensable book for any serious student of the American Civil War."
The special focus of Paludan's work was the social and cultural history and constitutional thought of 19th Century America – the world where Lincoln lived as much as the man himself. His 1981 book, Victims, a True Story of the Civil War, focuses on the social history of the war years, as do chapters in "A People's Contest": The Union and Civil War (1988), on the constitutional thought of the period. A Covenant with Death: The Constitution, Law, and Equality in the Civil War Era (1975) is about the cultural history of the period.
"Phil remained an active scholar to the end, yet he was generous of his time and expertise with the undergraduate and graduate students who studied with him, and took his teaching responsibilities with great seriousness," said Margo Duley, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "His colleagues in the History Department valued his wry wit, mentorship, and steadying hand. His outreach to the community by way of his sponsorship of the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series in conjunction with the Center for State Policy and Leadership educated many and endeared him to the Lincoln admirers in the Springfield area."
Paludan's many awards included the Barondess Lincoln Award from the New York City Civil War Round Table, and post doctoral fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Harvard Law School. In 2002, he received a Lincoln Diploma of Honor from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, and an honorary doctorate from Lincoln College.
In May 2006, Paludan delivered the first Distinguished Scholar Address at UIS' commencement ceremony.He received A.B. and M.A. degrees from Occidental College and his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied under Harold Hyman and Robert Johannsen. Before coming to UIS, he taught at the University of Kansas for more than 30 years, and held visiting appointments at Rutgers University and University College, Dublin, Ireland.