Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Early America

Theodore Karamanski

Title/s:  Professor
Public History Graduate Director; on leave, Fall 2023

Office #:  Crown Center 517

Phone: 773.508.2684 Fax: 773.508.2153

Email: tkarama@luc.edu

CV Link: Karamanski CV


Theodore Karamanski (Loyola University Chicago, Ph.D., 1979; B.A., 1975) is a Professor of History and Public History Director at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches courses in American Indian history, the Civil War, and public history. Karamanski has been a leading and national voice in the promotion of American and public history for more than three decades.  He was the founder and later director of Loyola’s Public History Program (1981-1990, 2006-current), the first such program in the Midwest and later the first to offer the Ph.D. in public history. A founding director of the National Council on Public History (NCPH), Karamanski was later elected president of the body for the 1989-1990 term, and named Graduate Faculty Member of the Year at Loyola (1993-94) and Faculty Member of the Year at Loyola (2001-2002). He has also been honored by the Midwest History Association with the Frederick Jackson Turner Award for lifetime contributions to the field and the American Historical Association with the Herbert Feis Award for distinguished contributions to public history.

Karamanski has been a prolific author in the fields of American Indian, Great Lakes, Civil War, and nineteenth-century American history.  He has written and edited numerous books, including: Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History with Eileen M. McMahon (Ohio University Press, 2014), which was chosen as the best book on Illinois history for 2015 by the Illinois State Historical Society; Blackbird's Song: Andrew J. Blackbird and the Odawa People (Michigan State University Press, 2012); Fur Trade and Exploration: The Opening of the Far Northwest, 1821-1852 (University of Oklahoma Press, 1983), which was selected by Choice as one of the best academic books of 1983; Deep Woods Frontier: The History of Logging in Northern Michigan (Wayne State University Press, 1989); Rally ‘Round the Flag: Chicago and the Civil War (Nelson Hall, 1991), which was winner the Illinois State Historical Society's “Special Achievement Award" (1992); Ethics and Public History: An Anthology (Robert Krieger, 1992); Schooner Passage: Sailing Ships and the Lake Michigan Frontier (Wayne State University Press, 2001); Maritime Chicago (Arcadia Press, 2001) with Eileen M. McMahon, North Woods River: The St. Croix Valley in Upper Midwest History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009) and with Patricia Mooney-Melvin City of Public Memory: Public Memory and Public Space in Chicago.  He has written more than 30 articles in a variety of journals including, Science, The Public Historian, Chronicle of Michigan History, Chicago History, Journal of Polar Studies, and Alaska Journal. Karamanski has also been interviewed by numerous public media outlets, including BBC, National Geographic, History Channel, Travel Channel, and WBEZ Chicago's Curious City, on which he spoke about Chicagoans support for the Civil War.

Karamanski has enjoyed an equally prolific career as a public historian, serving as Historic Preservation/Historical Archaeology Specialist at Fischer-Stein Associates of Carbondale, Ill. (1978-1980); Historical Consultant for the United States Forest Service at various national forests, including Hiawatha National Forest (1981-83), Ottawa National Forest (1983-84), and McCormick Experimental Forest (1984-85); ethnohistorian for Historic Resources Associates, Missoula, MT, in United States v. State of Michigan (1998-2005); historian for the National Park Service at the Millwood Plantation Historic Archaeology Project (1981-83); National Register Historian at the Alaska Regional Office (1990);  historical consultant for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (1991-1993, 2000-2003), Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (1994-1996), Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (1999-2001, 2007-present), and Office of the Attorney General, Saginaw Chippewa v. Jennifer Granholm (2005-10), and most recently Montana v. Talon (2016-2022).  He has been a member of the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Board of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (1988-91, 2005-2008, 2013-present), the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (2010 to present), and the Board of Directors for the Chicago Maritime Society (2009 to present).

Research Interests

Civil War, Vietnam War, History of the Midwest, Native Americans in Great Lakes Region, Public History.

Courses Taught

HIST 211: United States to 1865

HIST 298: History of Canada

HIST 376: History of the American Frontier Movement

HIST 376A: History of the American Indian

HIST 389: Vietnam War

HIST 450: 19th Century America

HIST 453: The Civil War & Reconstruction

HIST 481: Management of Historical Resources

Selected Publications

City of Public Memory: Public Memory and Public Space in Chicago with Patricia Mooney-Melvin, forthcoming

Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America (University of Wisconsin Press, 2020)

Civil War Chicago: Eyewitness to History with Eileen M. McMahon (Ohio University Press, 2014)

Blackbird's Song: Andrew J. Blackbird and the Odawa People (Michigan State University Press, 2012)

North Woods River: The St. Croix River in Upper Midwest History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009)

Rally 'Round the Flag: Chicago and the Civil War (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006)