Nominated By:The Honorable Timothy J. Davlin
Thomas F. Schwarz is the interim Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois State Historian, but he has been a leader in supporting and promoting the humanities is Springfield long before he attained his current title. He has been the driving force in establishing the nationally recognized "Conference on Illinois History," the state's largest meeting devoted to the history of Illinois. Mr. Schwartz is an acknowledged expert in the field of Abraham Lincoln studies and has been instrumental in brining internationally-known Lincoln scholars to Springfield to present new research. He accomplished much of this as Secretary for the non-profit Abraham Lincoln Association. It was under Mr. Schwartz's direction as the leader of the Historical Contents Committee for the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum that the Museum attained an international reputation for its honest and "human" portrayal of the former President. As the youngest person ever elected Illinois State Historian (he was 38 in 1993 when he took the post), Mr. Schwarz has used his official positions to share his knowledge with students, community groups, and the public in a way that makes Lincoln and his era alive and relevant to today's world. He has instilled in others an approach to history that, according to Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin, "reflects his personal integrity and deep understanding of history."