Everyone is welcome at our monthly meetings


See list of meeting dates and speakers below for our 2016-2017 program year.

Copies of recorded meetings are available for a small charge. Click here for a printable list of recorded meetings. More current meetings can be viewed on Youtube.

Our meetings are held at:

Holiday Inn O'Hare
5615 N. Cumberland
Chicago, IL 60631
Parking at the Holiday Inn is FREE
Map and Directions


Dinner $50.00 Members and Non- Members
Cocktails at 5:30, Dinner at 6:30

Presentation only is $10 per person.
Payable at the door, cash or check. Be there by 7:15. For those attending the presentation only, your reservation is appreciated but not required.

Dinner reservations should be received by Sunday evening prior to the meeting. When you make your dinner reservation, please be sure to indicate your entrée choice.

Please make reservations your reservation in advance by emailing DinnerReservations@ChicagoCWRT.org with the names of your party and choice of entre'e or calling (630) 460-1865

Cancellations: email us at DinnerReservations@ChicagoCWRT.org  or call (630) 460-1865

Entrée choices are:
   Chicken Marsala
   Tilapia

March 10th, 2017
Paul Kahan:

Simon Cameron, Lincoln's First Secretary of War

Simon Cameron (1799–1889) was one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent political figures. From abject poverty, he rose to undisputed political boss of Pennsylvania, Lincoln’s secretary of war, senator, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a founder of the Republican Party. In his wake, however, he left a series of questionable political and business dealings and, at the age of eighty, even a sex scandal.

In the popular mind, Simon Cameron is chiefly remembered for two things, his breathtaking personal corruption and a dismal record of incompetence as Abraham Lincoln's first Secretary of War.

On March 10th Cameron’s latest biographer, Paul Kahan, will contend that both conclusions are grossly oversimplified. In Kahan's view, there is much to admire in Cameron, who rose to the heights of state and national power, demonstrating along the way strong loyalty to friends and allies while spending an entire political career tirelessly promoting the interests of his home state of Pennsylvania. An anti-slavery moderate, he was also comparatively liberal on race.

Paul Kahan is a lecturer at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Dr. Kahan earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University, an M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English (with minors in medieval/Renaissance studies and music) from Alfred University. In 2008, Dr. Kahan published his first book, Eastern State Penitentiary: A History. His most recent book, Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War, was published in 2016. Kirkus called it "A fine political biography" while the San Francisco Book Review said it was "Essential for any Civil War historian’s library."

For our 2016-17 program year, we proudly welcome these outstanding speakers:

Sept. 9th: Steve Quick on The C.S.S. Hunley

Oct. 14th: Lance Herdegen, Nevins-Freeman Address

Nov. 11th: Dave Connon on Iowa Copperheads

Dec. 9th: Bjorn Skaptasan on Ambrose Bierce at Shiloh

Jan. 13th, 2017: Richard Sommers on Lessons in Leadership in the Petersburg Campaign

Feb. 10th: Bob O'Neil on Cavalry During the Peninsula Campaign

Mar. 10th: Paul Kahan on Simon Cameron, Lincoln's First Secretary of War

Apr. 14th: Diane Smith on Command Conflict in the Overland Campaign

May 12th: Connie Hansen presents a First Person Portrayal of Jennie Wade's mother

June 9th: Don Sender on Custer and the Little Big Horn Campaign