The Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission was created in 2007 to assist and advise the Illinois Supreme Court in acquiring, collecting, preserving, and cataloging documents, artifacts, and information relating to the Illinois judiciary. The Commission seeks to accomplish much of its work in partnership with historical and cultural institutions; bar associations; universities; law schools; and federal, state, and local agencies.

The Commission has produced publications, exhibits, and programs to educate the legal profession and the general public about the role of the judicial branch and its importance in interpreting laws. The intended audience gains an understanding of government and civics, resulting in a more engaged citizenry.


Executive Director

Portrait of John Lupton
John Lupton

John Lupton has worked in the fields of history and Abraham Lincoln for more than 20 years. He was an editor of two prize-winning publications, The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition and The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases. John has also published chapters in books and articles and is an expert in determining the authenticity of Abraham Lincoln's handwriting, appearing in the popular PBS show, "The History Detectives." He has a BA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a MA in History from the University of Illinois at Springfield. John was hired in 2009 as the Director of History Programs.
Documents: John Lupton CV

Contact John for information about Outreach Programs
Office phone: (217) 670-0890 ext 1
Office email:


Director of History Programs

Samuel Wheeler

Samuel Wheeler is a historian specializing in the history of Illinois, the Civil War Era, and the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.  He earned his Ph.D. in history from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  For more than two decades, Dr. Wheeler has worked in the field of public history, most recently serving as the State Historian of Illinois and Director of Research and Collections at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, where he oversaw historical content development, Illinois history initiatives, and was responsible for the state's most precious historical documents and artifacts.  In 2020, Lincoln College, the first institution of higher learning named after President Lincoln, awarded Dr. Wheeler an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his work promoting the state’s history and the Lincoln legacy.  He currently serves as the Director of History Programs at the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission since 2021. 

Contact Sam for information about Outreach Programs
Office email:

Samuel Wheeler
Samuel Wheeler


Director of Administration

Portrait of Matt Burns
Matt Burns

Matt Burns has worked in the field of history for 23 years. He first began this work for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency as the Heritage Tourism Coordinator working mainly on the Looking for Lincoln project. During his tenure, Matt worked in several capacities with the Agency focusing mainly on website development, history education, and publications. Since coming to the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission, he has been responsible for the design and maintenance of the Commission's website(s), as well as carrying out the duties of Network Administrator, Web Manager, Chief Fiscal Officer, audio/video archivist, graphic designer, and photographer. Matt was appointed Director of Administration.

Contact Matt for information about History Programs. 
Office phone: (217) 670-0890 ext 2
Office email:



Administrative Assistant

Virginia Geiger
Virginia Geiger

Contact Virginia for general questions.
Office phone: (217) 670-0890 ext 3
Office email:


Research Assistant & Collections Manager

Ben Belzer

Transcribes oral histories of retired Justices and Seventh Circuit lawyers. Files and preserves collection artifacts/documents for archives database.  Transcribes memorials. Coordinates set-up and tear down of traveling Court history displays.  Videographer for oral history interviews. Research associate for Court reenactment theater productions.  

Contact Ben for general questions.
Office phone: (217) 670-0890 ext 6
Office email: