Current passed away Oct. 26 from complications of Parkinson's disease, The New York Times reported.
Current's wide-ranging work helped scholars reinterpret President Abraham Lincoln and raise Lincoln studies to a professional level of scholarly inquiry, the newspaper said.
"He was a giant in the field from the era that made Lincoln the subject of professional historical study," said Gerald J. Prokopowicz, a former Lincoln scholar at the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Ind., and now the chairman of the history department at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
Current, who earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin and taught American history at a number of colleges and universities, wrote, co-wrote or edited more than 30 books, both about Lincoln and on other subjects, including a history of the typewriter and a study of U.S. statesman Daniel Webster.
"He was a very tough critic," Mark E. Neely, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln scholar and a professor of Civil War history at Penn State, said in an interview with the Times Thursday. "I remember one of the phrases he used when he was commenting on a paper he didn't like: 'What was new in it wasn't true and what was true in it wasn't new.' "