Simon, John Y. 1933–2008

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Simon, John Y. 1933–2008

(John Simon, John Younker Simon)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 25, 1933, in Highland Park, IL; died July 8, 2008, in Carbondale, IL. Historian, educator, editor, and author. Ulysses S. Grant was a prolific and relatively literary correspondent and memoirist. That enabled Simon to dedicate decades of his life to studying the soldier-statesman's papers and preparing them for publication. He did so in a particularly useful way, according to his critics. Simon alternated the incoming and outgoing documents in a chronological, fluid fashion and added substantial editorial commentary, giving the thirty volumes of his series a distinctly biographical flavor. During the four-plus decades that Simon labored over his favored project, he also taught history at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where the Grant papers were stored. He taught at the Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents and advised the state of Illinois on its historical records. His specialization was the U.S. Civil War, and Simon was active in related organizations such as the Abraham Lincoln Association. His scholarship won him many honors, including the Moncado Prize Award of the American Military Institute, the Founders Award of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, and the Nevins-Freeman Award of the Chicago Civil War Round Table. He received a Lincoln Prize in the special achievement category from the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute at Gettysburg College in 2004. Most of Simon's scholarship was focused on The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant (1967-2008), and he wrote several books about Grant and his family and colleagues. But one can rarely focus on a statesman of Grant's status without also studying the Civil War that launched his celebrated career or President Abraham Lincoln, Grant's commander in chief. Simon was the author of Lincoln and Grant (1984). He edited House Divided: Lincoln and His Father (1987), New Perspectives on the Civil War: Myths and Realities of the National Conflict (1998), and Debating the Civil War (2008).



Chicago Tribune, July 11, 2008, sec. 2, p. 12.

New York Times, July 10, 2008, p. C13; July 14, 2008, p. A4.