Searching for a New Illinois State Historian

Illinois has overhauled the post of state historian and is now searching for the right person to hold this exciting position.

In the past, the position was a permanent post held by a state employee who was an Abraham Lincoln expert. Now the appointment will last just two years and can go to anyone with the proper credentials, no matter where they work or what their historical focus is. The approach is similar to the way the Library of Congress handles the post of U.S. poet laureate.

The goal is to have an array of historians who will be able to excite new audiences about different strands of Illinois history.

Please complete the form below to apply or to get more information.

The position is described in state law here:

The relevant sections are:

(20 ILCS 3475/40)

Sec. 40. Illinois State Historian; appointment.
(a) The Governor, in consultation with the Board and the Illinois Historical Society, shall appoint the Illinois State Historian.
(b) The Illinois State Historian shall be appointed based on the recommendation from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board of Trustees who shall consult the Illinois State Historical Society. The Board in consultation with the Illinois State Historical Society shall develop qualifications for the Illinois State Historian to be approved by the Board no later than 120 days after the enactment of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly.
(c) Qualifications for the Illinois State Historian must include expertise in the history of at least one underrepresented minority group in this State, including, but not limited to: African-American history; Native American history; Latinx history; Asian-American history; and LGBTQIA history.
(d) An individual designated as the Illinois State Historian retains the designation for 2 years from the date of appointment and the term is renewable only by the Governor's appointment for one additional consecutive 2-year term.

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