Here’s our history.

Ralph G. NeumanRalph G. Newman (1911-1998) was a master raconteur, minor league baseball player, Lincoln scholar, expert manuscript appraiser, prominent civic leader and hopeless bibliophile. He founded the renown Abraham Lincoln Book Shop here in Chicago. Part of his motivation for establishing the shop was to serve the passionate collecting needs of a small circle of friends devoted to the study of the Civil War and the Great Emancipator.

Among that cadre were such writers and historians as Carl Sandburg, Bruce Catton, Otto Eisenschiml, E. B. ‘Pete’ Long, Stanley F. Horn, Lloyd Lewis and T. Harry Williams.

On December 3, 1940, when the 29-year-old Newman and fifteen friends went to dinner at the erstwhile Bismarck Hotel before listening to Percival G. Hart’s presentation of “Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign,” it led to their becoming the charter members of the very first Civil War Round Table.

That modest gathering proved to be momentous: It spawned hundreds of such Round Table discussion groups that meet across the U.S. and around the world.

Our organization’s heritage is recounted in The Civil War Round Table: Fifty Years of Scholarship and Fellowship (Morningside, 1995) by Barbara Hughett.

For a list of CWRT speakers and their topics 1940-2018, visit CWRT Speakers through June 2018.

For a list of CWRT speakers and their topics Sept. 2018-present, visit CWRT Speakers.

See below for Past Presidents of the Civil War Roundtable of Chicago

Past Presidents of the Civil War Roundtable of Chicago

1945-1946 Monroe F. Cockrell
1946-1947 Newton C. Farr
1947-1948 Harry Hershenson
1948-1949 Lloyd D. Miller
1949-1950 Alfred W. Stern
1950-1951 Joseph Eisendrath Jr.
1951-1952 Seymour J. Frank
1952-1953 Elmer Gertz
1953-1954 M. Kenneth McIntyre
1954-1955 Ralph G. Newman
1955-1956 E. B. (Pete) Long
1956-1957 Harold Hixson
1957-1958 Marshall Rissman
1958-1959 Lorenz G. Schumm
1959-1960 Jerry Slechta
1960-1961 C. Robert Douglas
1961-1962 Gerhard Clausius
1962-1963 Warren Reeder
1963-1964 H. George Donovan
1964-1965 Arnold Alexander
1965-1966 Brooks Davis
1966-1967 Michael Lerner
1967-1968 Ver Lynn Sprague
1968-1969 Jerry Warshaw
1969-1970 Clyde Walton
1970-1971 Dan Lapinski
1971-1972 Marshall Krolick
1972-1973 Charlie Falkenberg
1973-1974 Gordon Whitney
1974-1975 Ward Smidl
1975-1976 Gerald Edelstein
1976-1977 Terry Carr
1977-1978 Myron Cohn
1978-1979 Glen Wiche
1979-1980 Merlin Sumner
1980-1981 Bob Walter
1981-1982 Bob Franke
1982-1983 Marv Sanderman
1983-1984 Don Anderson
1984-1985 J. Robert Ziegler

1985-1986 Paul Kliger
1986-1987 Pat Sumner
1987-1988 Dan Weinberg
1988-1989 Bill Sullivan
1989-1990 Richard McAdoo
1990-1991 David Richert
1991-1992 Joe Wisehart
1992-1993 Mary Abroe
1993-1994 Kurt Carlson
1994-1995 Barbara Hughett
1995-1996 Carole Cierniak
1996-1997 Larry Gibbs
1997-1998 Rob Girardi
1998-1999 Jim Nethery
1999-2000 Chuck Bednar
2000-2001 Bruce Allardice
2001-2002 Roger Bohn
2002-2003 Janet Linhart
2003-2004 Ted Birndorf
2004-2005 Jerry Kowalski
2005-2006 Bob Miller
2006-2007 Nancy Bates
2007-2008 Roger Rudich
2008-2009 Jerry Allen
2009-2010 Tom Trescott
2010-2011 Rae Radovich
2011-2012 Bob Stoller
2012-2013 Brian Seiter
2013-2014 Mark Matranga
2014-2015 Paula Walker
2015-2016 Cindy Heckler
2016-2017 Jon Sebastian
2017-2018 Marc Kunis
2018-2019 Cindy Heckler
2019-2020 Jim Cunningham
2020-2021 Mark Matranga
2021-2022 Jon Sebastian
2022-2023 Kurt Carlson
2023-2024 Brian Seiter