Montrew Dunham


2013 Historian of the Year

The Downers Grove Historical Society honored Montrew Dunham as the inaugural Historian of the Year of the year in 2013.

Montrew Dunham dedicated her life to  making a difference in the lives of Downers Grove residents of all ages.  A resident of Downers Grove for 60 years, Dunham authored numerous biographies for young readers about famous Americans, such as Neil Armstrong, Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, Ronald Reagan, Mahalia Jackson, among others.

She was the co-author, with Pauline Wandschneider, of Downers Grove 1832-1982 published for the Village’s sesquicentennial in 1982.  This book is available on the Society website. She then wrote and published Downers Grove Revisited in 2003.  These two volumes have become vital resources for information about the history of Downers Grove. She was a member of the Downers Grove Historical Society for more than 30 years, serving as a board director for many of those years, and a continuing contributor to the celebration and preservation of Downers Grove history until her death.  She was recognized by the DuPage County Historical Society in 2012, and was named Historian of the Year by the Downers Grove Historical Society on 2013.

Montrew was a youth counselor with District 99 from 1968-1986, member of the Downers Grove Chapter of the AAUW, a longtime volunteer at Morton Arboretum and at Good Sam Auxiliary, and participated in many other volunteer groups and civic committees for the Village over the years.  


In 2019, the Museum’s annex was renamed The Montrew Dunham History Center in honor of her many contributions to the community and to the preservation of Downers Grove history. In addition, the Downers Grove Historical Society created the Montrew Dunham Award to recognize other citizens who have earned a place in Downers Grove history through their exemplary volunteer service to the community. In recognition of her service, the Village of Downers Grove prepared this video tribute on YouTube that closes with "Thank for sharing your boundless energy, your dedication to Downers Grove and for so many wonderful memories."