Officers & Directors

Abraham Lincoln Association Directors
Kenneth L. Anderson: BA Indiana University, MA University of Kansas, JD Valparaiso University. Award-winning author and producer of the play “Honest, It’s Abe”. A life-long Lincoln admirer, inspired in his youth by Walt Whitman’s “Oh Captain, My Captain.” Ken taught at KU and Simpson College as well as served as a social worker prior to a successful career as an attorney. He also was elected to the Schererville Town Court Judge four times.

William E. “Bill” Bartelt is a Lincoln historian and author focusing primarily on Lincoln’s youth in Indiana. He is the author or editor of books, articles, and numerous historical reports on Lincoln’s life, including There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth (2008) and Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President (2019). For many years Bartelt worked as a ranger and historian at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. In addition to his work on the ALA board of directors, he serves on the board of the Lincoln Forum and the Indiana Historical Society, and received the Indiana Historical Society’s “Hoosier Historian” award in 2003.

Roger Billings, a distinguished law professor at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, is renowned for his expertise on Abraham Lincoln and the intricate history of the Civil War, particularly the legalities surrounding secession. With a law degree from the University of Akron, Billings has significantly contributed to legal scholarship through authoring four textbooks and engaging in international legal exchanges in cities such as Munich, Moscow, and Salzburg. His academic achievements were recognized in 2004 when he was named a Fulbright Distinguished Professor at the University of Salzburg, a position he honors yearly as a visiting professor teaching international trade law.

Beyond his academic and professional endeavors, Billings harbors a deep passion for the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, dedicating much of his research to understanding Lincoln’s legal career. His notable work, Abraham Lincoln, Esquire: The Legal Career of America’s Greatest President, co-edited with Frank Williams and published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2010, underscores this focus. Billings’ commitment to sharing Lincoln’s historical significance extends to speaking engagements across the United States, addressing esteemed audiences at the New York City Bar Association, the Filson Historical Society, and various historical and legal associations. His dedication not only enriches the academic community’s understanding of Lincoln but also keeps the conversation about Lincoln’s impact on American law and society vibrant and ongoing.

His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, and elsewhere. He is the ghostwriter of a number of books, the most recent of which was a New York Times bestseller. His own book, We Shall Fight: Churchill’s Greatest Speech, will be published in 2024 by HarperCollins.

Michael is the former executive director of the International Churchill Society and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He worked closely with the cast and producers of Darkest Hour, and served as a consultant on Lincoln, the Steven Spielberg film. Previously, he held several positions on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

A member of the board of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, Michael lives in Washington, DC.

A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins, Michael Burlingame joined the faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield in 2009 as the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies. He has written and edited twenty Lincoln books, among them Abraham Lincoln: A Life, The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln, An American Marriage: The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd, The Black Man’s President: Abraham Lincoln, African Americans, and the Pursuit of Racial Equality, and Lincoln and the Civil War. The Atlantic rated Abraham Lincoln: A Life one of the five best books of the year; in The New York Review of Books, the dean of Civil War historians, James M. McPherson, wrote that Burlingame “knows more about Lincoln than any other living person”; and the cultural, literary, and political critic Christopher Hitchens declared that “No review could do complete justice to the magnificent two-volume biography that has been so well-wrought by Michael Burlingame.”

Joshua A. Claybourn is an attorney and historian focusing primarily on Abraham Lincoln’s youth. He is the author or editor of several books, including Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President and Abraham Lincoln’s Wilderness Years. In addition to the ALA, he serves on the board of the Abraham Lincoln Institute and frequently offers presentations on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. Claybourn’s legal practice focuses on intellectual property, government, and commercial transactions. Visit him online at

James M. Cornelius, Ph.D., serves as editor of the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association and of the quarterlyFor the People: A Newsletter of the ALA. For 11 years he was the Curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, and prior to that he worked for 8 years in the Illinois Historical Survey and Lincoln Room of the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign.

Jacob K. Friefeld is the Director of the Center for Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. His most recent book, The First Migrants: How Black Homesteaders’ Quest for Land and Freedom Heralded America’s Great Migration (2023), tells the epic story of Black Americans homesteading in the Great Plains after the Civil War. The First Migrants unites the legacy of emancipation with the legacy of free land policy in the West. His first book, Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History (2017), examines the Homestead Act of 1862, one of the most important social policies ever enacted in the United States. He was previously a research historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and he has a passion for making history accessible for broad audiences through his writing, public speaking, and work with museums.

Dr. Allen C. Guelzo is the Thomas W. Smith Distinguished Research Scholar and Director of the Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Guelzo is the author of numerous books on American intellectual history, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War era. His publication awards include the Lincoln Prize as well as the Abraham Lincoln Institute Prize for Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America and Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, making him the first triple Lincoln laureate in the history of the prize. His critically acclaimed book, Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008. Professor Guelzo has written for The American Historical Review, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, C-SPAN’s Booknotes, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He was a member of the National Council on the Humanities from 2006 until 2012.

Kathryn M. Harris is the first woman and the first African American to serve as president of the ALA since its inception in 1909. Harris retired in 2015 as the Library Services Director/Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Harris has held many leadership roles with history organizations, including as board member of the Illinois Library Association and the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) and president of the Sangamon County Historical Society. She’s received many awards for her contributions, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Springfield Rotary Club. Harris presents one woman shows of four historic 19th century African American Women to school children, civic, church and social groups, but her favorite character is Harriet Tubman.

Thomas Horrocks, a historian and retired librarian, holds a Ph.D. in history and a graduate degree in library science. With twenty-five years in library management, he transitioned to a consulting role at Heritage Auctions, focusing on political Americana, rare books, and manuscripts.

Horrocks has authored, edited, and co-edited seven books. His works include Lincoln’s Campaign Biographies (2014), President James Buchanan: A Crisis of National Leadership (2011), and The Annotated Lincoln (2014). He collects pre-1900 presidential campaign biographies and material related to Abraham Lincoln, including ephemera.

David Joens is the Director of the Illinois State Archives, the state agency that is responsible for the preservation of historic Illinois state government records, including Lincoln documents from his law practice in front of the Illinois Supreme Court and from his time in the state legislature. A fifth-generation resident of Illinois, Joens received his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, two Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a doctorate in Illinois history from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He is the author of three books on Illinois history and government, including From Slave to State Legislator: John W. E. Thomas, Illinois’ First African American Lawmaker, published by SIU Press.
Ron J. Keller is Executive Director of the renowned Lincoln Heritage. He is past Assistant Professor of History, College Archivist, and Curator of Special Collections at Illinois College, and for twenty years served as Associate Professor of History and Political science at Lincoln College. Keller led the redesign of the Lincoln Heritage Museum which opened in 2014. Keller has authored the major release Lincoln in the Illinois Legislature (SIU Press, 2019) and co-authored several books including A Respect For the Office: Letters From the Presidents (2009), and Abraham Lincoln in Logan County (2010). He has also written several feature articles for the journal White House History. In 2009 the Lincoln Academy bestowed Keller with the Order of Lincoln—the highest honor given to a resident of the state of Illinois.
Michelle A. Krowl is the Civil War and Reconstruction specialist in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress. She received a B.A. in History from the University of California, Riverside, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of several articles and books on topics relating to the Civil War, as well as Quantico, Virginia and the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a library assistant at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., an assistant professor at Northern Virginia Community College, and as a research assistant for historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Andrew F. Lang is a distinguished historian who explores nineteenth-century America through the prism of the Civil War. His latest publication, A Contest of Civilizations: Exposing the Crisis of American Exceptionalism in the Civil War Era (2021), offers a critical examination of American identity and the contradictions of liberty and slavery. This work, part of the University of North Carolina Press’s Littlefield History of the Civil War Era series, was a finalist for the 2022 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, recognizing its contribution to American historical scholarship. Lang’s analysis sheds light on the complex factors that led to the Civil War, challenging readers to reconsider the era’s impact on national identity and constitutionalism.

Lang’s initial book, In the Wake of War: Military Occupation, Emancipation, and Civil War America (2017), received the 2018 Tom Watson Brown Book Award for its innovative approach to Civil War studies. Currently, he is developing two significant projects: an intellectual biography of Abraham Lincoln’s views on union and history, and a study titled Lincoln’s Protégé: Ulysses S. Grant and the New Birth of Freedom, which investigates Grant’s adoption of Lincoln’s nationalist vision during Reconstruction. Lang’s involvement with the Society of Civil War Historians and advisory roles at key Civil War institutions underscore his significant contributions to the field and his ongoing commitment to understanding the Civil War’s legacy.

John A. Lupton is the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission in Springfield, Illinois. He previously worked with the Lincoln Legal Papers and the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. Lupton has published numerous chapters and articles on Lincoln’s law practice and legal history. He is the editor of Prairie Justice: A History of Illinois Courts under French, English & American Law (2015) and Adjudicating Illinois: Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court (2018) and an assistant editor of the Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition (2000, 2008) and The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases, 4 vols (2008).

Dave Leroy is a former Idaho Attorney General, Lt. Governor, and U.S. Nuclear Waste Negotiator, who practices law in Boise. Author of Mr. Lincoln’s Book, Oak Knoll Publishing (2009), Chairman of the Governors’ Council of the United States Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the related Idaho Commission (2007 – 2010), he is also President of the Idaho Lincoln Institute, an online education site which suggests historic Lincoln quotes as solutions to modern day political problems at In 2013, Nancy and Dave donated a major collection of Lincoln original memorabilia to the State Historical Society, creating a five-room, 220 artifact permanent public museum display, “The Lincoln Legacy Exhibit,” at the Idaho Archives Building. Leroy has also taken a lead role in erecting two heroic Lincoln statutes in Boise, researching and explaining relationship between the 16th President and Idaho Territory and in producing and presenting CLE programs utilizing Lincoln themes.
Scott T. Schroeder is a professional healthcare practitioner and an independent historian focusing on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. He speaks regularly on those topics and is actively involved in research and manuscript preparation for article and book projects. He has led tours for Lincoln related sites and is involved in the development and/or co-development of multimedia projects related to the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. In addition to his role with the ALA, Schroeder serves on the Board of Advisors for the Lincoln Forum as well as on the Board of Directors for the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia.
Andy serves as president of Design Ideas, a company employing 50 people in Springfield and 25 people overseas, which he started in 1982. He is a graduate of Springfield High School, Princeton University, and Stanford Law School. Andy is a published author of the book Always My Friend: A History of the State Journal-Register and Springfield. He serves on the Sangamon County board. He is also an Eagle Scout.

Sarah Watson is the Executive Director of Looking for Lincoln and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. In this role, she spearheads efforts across a 43-county national heritage area and its 28 communities, focusing on the preservation and narration of Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. Watson champions heritage tourism as a pivotal economic booster for these communities, leveraging the rich historical narrative to foster growth and development.

In addition to her leadership role, Watson is the Principal Consultant at Best in People, where she offers expertise in leadership development, interpersonal communication, and change management. Her background includes a tenure as a career development consultant and, prior to that, serving as the Communications Director for the Springfield School District.

Jonathan W. White is professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University. He is the author or editor of 16 books that cover a variety of topics including civil liberties during the Civil War, the USS Monitor and the Battle of Hampton Roads, the presidential election of 1864, and what Abraham Lincoln and soldiers dreamt about. He serves as vice chair of The Lincoln Forum and on the Ford’s Theatre Advisory Council, and in 2019 he won the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award—the highest honor bestowed upon college faculty by the Commonwealth of Virginia. His most recent books are To Address You As My Friend: African Americans’ Letters to Abraham Lincoln (2021) and A House Built By Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House (2022). In 2023 he will publish Shipwrecked: A True Civil War Story of Mutinies, Jailbreaks, Blockade-Running, and the Slave Trade.

Bob Willard, past president of the ALA and former President of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, is a retired government and industry professional with experience in both market management and information policy advocacy and with a comprehensive knowledge of the application of information technology to public needs. Willard is a long-time collector of books and other material about Abraham Lincoln, and has advised agencies involved in digitization of Lincoln material.

ALA Personnel
Kay Smith

Executive Manager

Honorary Directors

President Joe Biden
Governor JB Pritzker
Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Tammy Duckworth
Congressman Darin LaHood
Congresswoman Mary Miller
Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski
Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis
Mayor Misty Buscher

Emeritus Directors

Robert J. Lenz
N. Ronald Thunman

Distinguished Directors

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Lewis E. Lehrman
Thomas F. Schwartz
Wayne C. Temple