Looking back at the Thompson years

​CHICAGO – By any measure, Gov. James R. Thompson was a big deal for Illinois.
Join the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Chicago History Museum on June 12 for "Remembering Governor 'Big Jim' Thompson" a look back at Thompson’s 14 years in office.
“Even in retirement, Gov. Thompson casts a long shadow. He was the state’s longest-serving governor, with a larger-than-life personality to match his six-foot-six-inch frame,” said Dr. Mark DePue, head of the Lincoln Presidential Library’s Oral History Program. “He was a skilled politician who seemed to relish every legislative battle and political challenge.” 
The free event takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Chicago History Museum’s Robert R. McCormick Theater. 
DePue will moderate a panel conversation featuring four of Thompson’s top aides: Deputy Gov. Jim Fletcher, press secretary David Gilbert, budget director Bob Mandeville, and policy director Paula Wolff.
“Jim Thompson is a fascinating man and an important figure in Illinois history,” said Russell Lewis, executive vice president and chief historian at the Chicago History Museum. “This dream panel of key people from his administration will offer provocative stories about the challenges he faced and the colorful way he did it.”
“And we’re proud to honor a former Chicago History Museum board member,” Lewis added.
Visit for program details.  

Thompson, 81, plans to attend the event. A former U.S. attorney, Thompson was elected governor in 1976 and held office until 1991. He later served as chairman and CEO of the law firm Winston & Strawn from 1993 until 2006. He was also a member of the commission that investigated the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

The Gov. Jim Thompson Oral History Project can be found at

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology. 

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history. The museum uses traditional exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling techniques to educate visitors. For more, please visit

The Chicago History Museum, a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history, is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The Museum has dedicated more than a century to celebrating and sharing Chicago’s stories through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming. The Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents and images to help audiences connect to the city and its history. The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. The Chicago History Museum is a 2016 winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest award given to these institutions for their community engagement and having an impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities. To learn more visit us at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

# # #​