Michael Burlingame ’64 traces his passion for Civil War history back to a freshman-year course on the subject at Princeton, taught by David Herbert Donald, and his latest work, the two-volume biography Abraham Lincoln: A Life, included research compiled over the course of three decades. Last week, on Lincoln's birthday, the author and historian was rewarded for his longtime devotion to the field when his Lincoln biography received the 2010 Lincoln Prize, a $50,000 award that is one of the most prestigious honors in Civil War studies.

The prize is sponsored by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Lewis Lehrman, co-chairman of the Gilder Lehrman Institute, called Burlingame's book "a landmark of American historical scholarship." "Every member of the literate general public, interested in Abraham Lincoln, is surely indebted to Burlingame for his tireless research into archives and newspapers never before examined," Lehrman said.

Burlingame, the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair of Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, joins a list of distinguished Lincoln Prize winners that includes Donald, Burlingame's mentor during his Ph.D. studies at Johns Hopkins; Princeton emeritus history professor James McPherson; documentary filmmaker Ken Burns; and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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