Professor Michael Burlingame, holder of the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, was born in Washington, DC, and attended Phillips Academy, Andover. As a freshman at Princeton University, he took the Civil War course taught by the eminent Lincolnian David Herbert Donald, who took him under his wing and made him a research assistant. When Professor Donald moved on to Johns Hopkins University, Burlingame upon graduation from Princeton followed him to that institution. There he received his Ph.D. In 1968, he joined the History Department at Connecticut College in New London, where he taught until retiring in 2001 as the May Buckley Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2009.
Professor Burlingame is the author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life (2 vols.; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) and The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994). In addition, he has edited the several volumes of Lincoln primary source materials: An Oral History of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay's Interviews and Essays (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996); Inside Lincoln’s White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1997), co-edited with John R. Turner Ettlinger; Lincoln Observed: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998); Lincoln’s Journalist: John Hay’s Anonymous Writings for the Press, 1860-1864 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998); A Reporter’s Lincoln by Walter B. Stevens (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998); With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, 1860-1865 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000); At Lincoln’s Side: John Hay’s Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000); Inside the White House in War Times: Memoirs and Reports of Lincoln’s Secretary by William O. Stoddard (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000); Dispatches from Lincoln’s White House: The Anonymous Civil War Journalism of Presidential Secretary William O. Stoddard (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002); The Real Lincoln: A Portrait by Jesse W. Weik (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002); “Lincoln’s Humor” and Other Essays by Benjamin P. Thomas (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002); and Abraham Lincoln: The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007).
Professor Burlingame has received the Abraham Lincoln Association Book Prize (1996), the Lincoln Diploma of Honor from Lincoln Memorial University (1998), Honorable Mention for the Lincoln Prize, Gettysburg College (2001), and was inducted into the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in 2009.
Abraham Lincoln: A Life recently won the 2010 Lincoln Prize, sponsored by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History and Gettysburg College, for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, or the American Civil War soldier, or a subject relating to their era. It also was a co-winner of the annual book prize awarded by the Abraham Lincoln Institute of Washington, DC, and won the Russell P. Strange Book Award given annually by the Illinois State Historical Society for the best book on Illinois history.
Professor Burlingame currently lives in Springfield, where he is working on several Lincoln-related projects.