Civil War scholar John Y. Simon was born in Highland Park, Illinois on June 25, 1933. He received a B. A. from Swarthmore College and an M. A. and Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He taught at Ohio State University before becoming a member of the Southern Illinois University history department in 1964. During his 34 years there, he taught courses on the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the history of Illinois. He also wrote and edited numerous books about Lincoln, Grant, and the Civil War. Beginning in 1962, he started editing the papers of Ulysses S. Grant, which comprised of thousands of documents and annotations, and set a new standard for the organization of historical documents. In 2004, he received a Lincoln Prize for his work. He was nearing completion of this project when he died on July 8, 2008.