Illinois State Historical Society   |   Strawbridge-Shepherd House   |   PO Box 1800   |   Springfield, IL 62705-1800

Verna Ross Orndorff Scholarship

The Verna Ross Orndorff Scholarship ($1000) was established in 1989 in honor of River Forest resident Verna Ross Orndorff, a lifelong student of Illinois history, to encourage interest in Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War in Illinois high schools.

To apply for the scholarship, essays meeting the following criteria should be submitted (postmarked or emailed) by January 15, 2024:

  • The focus of the essay should be on Abraham Lincoln or a significant event in the Civil War period in Illinois;
  • Essays should be 1,500 words with a title page, outline, an annotated bibliography and suggestions for further reading.

The Illinois high school student whose research paper is selected will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a certificate of achievement and will be honored at the Annual Awards Banquet in 2024. The paper will be published in a forthcoming issue of Illinois Heritage magazine, the popular history magazine of the Illinois State Historical Society.

For more information:
Email or call 217-525-2781.

Submission deadline for entries must be postmarked or emailed by January 15, 2024.

Entries may be mailed to: ISHS Scholarships, Illinois State Historical Society, PO Box 1800, Springfield, IL, 62705-1800.


Please include the following information

  • Student Name
  • Grade
  • School
  • Student Address
  • Student Phone
  • Student Email Address
  • Sponsor Teacher Name
  • Sponsor Teacher Phone
  • Sponsor Teacher Email Address
  • Sponsor Teacher Address

Recent Recipient

Olivia Campbell Photo

2023 ISHS Verna Ross Orndorff Award winner Ryan Allen (L) accepts his award from ISHS Board member Robert Sampson (R) for his essay, “The Light of Lincoln.”

Previous Recipients

2022: Olivia Campbell
2021: Annabelle Bishop, Alleman Catholic High School (Rock Island)
2020: Ethan Wells, Williamsville High School
2019: Benjamin Gorashchenko, Vernon Hills High School
2019: Jacob Brown (Honorable Mention), Seneca Township High School
2019: Natalie Laky (Honorable Mention), Highland Park High School
2017: Anna Sielaff, Lincoln Community High School
2016: Kamryn Alyesworth, Mt. Pulaski High School
2015: Jessica Winter, Pana High School
2014: James Ware, Home Schooled, Peoria
2013: Thomas Jozefowicz, Oak Park and River Forest High School
2011: Rachel Stowell, New Berlin High School
2008: Samuel Stowell, New Berlin High School

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