The Abraham Lincoln Association

Russell Lewis Jr.

“The history community has lost a true champion and the ALA has lost a good friend and member of our Board of Directors with the death of Russell Lewis, Jr. We send our condolences to his family.” ~ Bob Willard

Russell L. Lewis, Jr. 67, beloved husband of Mary Jane Jacob and loving father of Clayton Lewis, passed due to pancreatic cancer. He will be remembered for his 36-year career at the Chicago History Museum, where he was rose from assistant editor to Executive Vice President and Chief Historian. He twice served as Acting President and in 2016 was elected to the Board of Trustees. Recently retired, he became the museum’s first Chief Historian Emeritus. He served the history profession in many capacities, including Chair of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society and Friends of DuSable, President of Street-Level Youth Media, and advisor to the History Makers and Ford’s Theater.

He was active in the leadership of Chicago’s Museums in the Park, American Association for State and Local History, and Illinois State Historical Society; codirector of the Chicago History Museum’s Urban History Seminar; and author of books and articles on urban planning, Abraham Lincoln, bio-historical research, and Chicago history. Lewis received the 2018 Distinguished Career Award from the Association of Midwest Museums and in 2019, the J. Young Scammon Award from the Chicago Historical Society. At that time, Walter C. Carlson, Chairman of the Society’s Board of Trustees said Russell’s life “is devoted to the field of historical knowledge and to making that knowledge available widely and richly to society.”Contributions can be made in his name to the Chicago History Museum.