HAROLD HOLZER is one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, Holzer serves as chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, successor organization to the United States Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC), to which he was appointed by President Clinton in 2000, and co-chaired from 2001–2010. President Bush, in turn, awarded Holzer the National Humanities Medal in 2008. bio continues here...

Harold is on Twitter! Follow Harold for insights on Lincoln, updates on appearances, and general musings and behind-the-scenes photos.

Harold reciting the Gettysburg Address for Ken Burns's project "Learn the Address." To learn more about the project, click here.

Harold Holzer joins curator Dr. Kim Orcutt in this video overview of some of the notable sculpted depictions of wartime life and history by John Rogers (1829–1904). On view now through February 18, 2013 at the New-York Historical Society, John Rogers: American Stories is the first full retrospective of America’s most popular sculptor.

Upcoming Personal Appearances

February 22 • Museum of the Confederacy, "Person of the Year" competition, Richmond, VA
March 2 • NYSCSS panel on Emancipation, Rye Town Hilton, Rye, NY
March 8–9 • Press conference with "Lincoln" (George Buss), Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA
March 20 • "Lincoln and the Press: The Uncivil War," Frederick County Civil War Roundtable
March 29–30 • Charleston, Illinois Riot Anniversary


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The Civil War in 50 Objects
Harold Holzer

Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer sheds new light on the war by examining fifty objects from the New-York Historical Society’s acclaimed collection. A daguerreotype of an elderly, dignified ex-slave, whose unblinking stare still mesmerizes; a soldier’s footlocker still packed with its contents; Grant’s handwritten terms of surrender at Appomattox–the stories these objects tell are rich, poignant, sometimes painful, and always fascinating. They illuminate the conflict from all perspectives–Union and Confederate, military and civilian, black and white, male and female–and give readers a deeply human sense of the war.

1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year
Harold Holzer, editor

Only hours into the new year of 1863, Abraham Lincoln performed perhaps his most famous action as president by signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Rather than remaining the highlight of the coming months, however, this monumental act marked only the beginning of the most pivotal year of Lincoln’s presidency and the most revolutionary twelve months of the entire Civil War. In recognition of the sesquicentennial of this tumultuous time, prominent Civil War scholars explore the events and personalities that dominated 1863 in this enlightening volume, providing a unique historical perspective on a critical period in American history.

Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America
Harold Holzer

A new book—and companion to the Steven Spielberg film—tracing how Abraham Lincoln came to view slavery... and came to end it. Steven Spielberg focused his movie Lincoln on the sixteenth president’s tumultuous final months in office, when he pursued a course of action to end the Civil War, reunite the country, and abolish slavery. Invited by the filmmakers to write a special Lincoln book as a companion to the film, Harold Holzer, the distinguished historian and a consultant on the movie, now gives us a fast-paced, exciting new book on Lincoln’s life and times, his evolving beliefs about slavery, and how he maneuvered to end it.

Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory
Harold Holzer

The Emancipation Proclamation is responsible both for Lincoln’s being hailed as the Great Emancipator and for his being pilloried by those who consider his once-radical effort at emancipation insufficient. Holzer examines the impact of Lincoln’s announcement at the moment of its creation, and then as its meaning has changed over time.

Lincoln on War
Harold Holzer, editor

President Lincoln used his own weapons—his words—to fight the Civil War as brilliantly as any general who ever took the field. In Lincoln on War, historian Harold Holzer gathers and interprets Lincoln’s speeches, letters, memoranda, orders, telegrams, and casual remarks, organizing them chronologically and allowing readers to experience Lincoln’s growth from an eager young Indian War officer to a middle-aged dove congressman to a surprisingly hardened and determined hawk as the Union’s commander-in-chief.