William (Bill) Bartelt grew up at Holland, Indiana and taught social studies at Evansville’s Harrison High School for 37 years. He was the social studies and fine arts department chair at the school when he retired in 2005. From 1986 to 2007 he was an adjunct American history instructor at the University of Southern Indiana.
He serves as a trustee of the Indiana Historical Society, Secretary of the Indiana Library and Historical Board, first vice-president of the Abraham Lincoln Association, a member of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection of Indiana board of directors and a board member of the Lincoln Forum. He has served as president of the Vanderburgh County Historical Society, the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society, the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science Board and the Newburgh Museum Foundation. In 2003 he received the Indiana Historical Society’s Hoosier Historian Award for contribution to historical scholarship.
In 2008 the Indiana Historical Society Press published his book There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth. He co-edited a book with Josh Claybourn entitled Abe’s Lincoln’s Youth: Shaping the Future President published by the Indiana University Press that was published in October 2019.