George Levy, former professor of legal studies at Roosevelt University, became interested in Camp Douglas as a student at the University of Chicago, which is located across the street from the site of the camp.
His interest in the Civil War began much earlier. In the fourth grade, this Windy City native was required to learn President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. He has spent the rest of his life trying to appreciate it.
When he is not researching or writing, Levy passes his time relic hunting on campgrounds of the Union army in Virginia. He also searches for and photographs sites where Union soldiers were executed. His research often finds its way into the Lincoln Newsletter, which has published many of Levy’s articles, including one entitled “Economic, Social, and Political Impact of Military Depots in the Civil War.”
Levy occasionally unearths some rare finds. In To Die in Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65, Levy’s primary sources include original camp records only recently discovered after a church fire in Chicago, as well as baptismal books kept by a priest who visited the camp.
“Many people, especially in the South, seem to want some spiritual contact with the place where their ancestors had suffered so much,” says Levy. In his moving, authoritative account of the atrocities that occurred at Camp Douglas, he bridges the gap between past and present in order to provide the contact necessary to heal these long-festering wounds.
Levy, who has also maintained a private law practice, served in the Public Defender’s office and as an assistant attorney general for the state of Illinois. Prior to his tenure at Roosevelt University, he taught at John Marshall Law School. In addition to belonging to the Illinois State Bar Association, Levy is a member of Midwest Authors, which is based in Chicago.