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January 11, 2021

Samuel Blackwell

Samuel Blackwell, Ph.D., longtime instructor in the Department of History, died on December 3, 2020. After earning his M.A. and Ph.D. from NIU, he went on to serve the department as an instructor in American history for many years. He also taught at New Lenox High School, Sandwich High School, and Waubonsee College in Aurora.  He served in the Army National Guard from September, 1967-1973.

Blackwell authored the “The First Line”—a history of the Illinois 12th Calvary in the Civil War; published several articles in historical publications; reviewed articles for historical publications; and served as a panel member at history workshops and symposiums.

In addition to researching battlefields, he was a student in the teachings of President Thomas Jefferson, visiting his home and plantation on more than a dozen times.

Alumni will fondly recall his classes on military history and the Civil War-era United States; these specialties were also reflected in his scholarly publications. Even after retirement, Blackwell remained a great supporter of the NIU History Department.

A celebration of life service will be held at a later date. To view the obituary or to leave an online condolence, go to .

Memorial contributions may be made to the NIU History Department by contacting the NIU Foundation. Gifts can be made online, by calling 1-877-GIV-2-NIU, or by contacting Ray Jackson , executive director, college based-advancement.