IN THE NEWS

From NPR’s "All Things Considered" (November 19, 2013)
Short Speech Still Resonates: The Gettysburg Address Turns 150
Tuesday marks the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg address. President Abraham Lincoln delivered these 278 words at the Dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg. Melissa Block talks with Civil War historian Harold Holzer about the address... [listen here]

From The Journal News (November 13, 2013)
Chronicling Lincoln@Gettysburg
Rye historian Harold Holzer, the author of dozens of books on Abraham Lincoln, has an abiding interest in the words the president used. Lincoln the Executive, Lincoln the Lawyer, Lincoln the Teller of Tales. But Holzer has an abiding appreciation for Lincoln the wordsmith. Take, for example, the Gettysburg Address, delivered at a newly created National Cemetery 150 years ago next week. It is a speech that evolved in Lincoln’s mind, starting within days of the war-changing battle in July 1863... [read more]

From The New York Post (November 24, 2012)
Finally, an Honest Abe
Director Steven Spielberg, whom I introduced last week at Gettysburg at ceremonies marking the 149th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s greatest speech, said he was deeply humbled to be delivering an address on that history-making spot. Spielberg kept his remarks simple — like Lincoln before him. After seven years of work on his new film "Lincoln," Spielberg feels almost as if the 16th president is "one of my oldest and dearest friends," he said.... [read more]

From The Wall Street Journal (November 19, 2012)
Living History With Lincoln By the Books
What do you get when you combine a PR man and a Lincoln scholar? This isn’t a joke question. I was considering it a week ago Friday night when I traveled to Albany to see a preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation in Lincoln’s handwriting. I also joined the audience at the New York State Museum as Harold Holzer, the author or editor of more than 40 books about Abraham Lincoln, gave a talk about the document that freed the slaves. Mr. Holzer also happens to be the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s senior vice president for external affairs.... [read more]

From The New York Times (July 28, 2012)
Never Enough Lincoln on the Shelves
After writing, co-authoring and editing 42 books on Abraham Lincoln, Harold Holzer is easing back a bit from his day job as senior vice president of external affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — in order to devote more time to Lincoln. A Lincoln painting from life looks over his shoulder at the museum, where he runs the communications shop and seems bemused when a visitor asks what could possibly be left to write about Lincoln... [read more]

From NPR (March 14, 2012)
'Emancipating Lincoln': A Pragmatic Proclamation
One hundred fifty years ago, in the summer of 1862, the Civil War was raging and President Abraham Lincoln was starting to scribble away at a document, an ultimatum to the rebellious states: Return to the Union, or your slaves will be freed. Emancipation was a “military necessity,” the president later confided to his Cabinet... [read more]

From The New York Times (February 11, 2012)
Mrs. Lincoln, I Presume? Well, as It Turns Out...
For 32 years, a portrait of a serene Mary Todd Lincoln hung in the governor's mansion in Springfield, Ill., signed by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, a celebrated painter who lived at the White House for six months in 1864. The story behind the picture was compelling: Mrs. Lincoln had Mr. Carpenter secretly paint her portrait as a surprise for the president, but he was assassinated before she had a chance to present it to him. Now it turns out that both the portrait and the touching tale accompanying it are false... [read more]

From The Washington Post (January 27, 2012)
The Lincoln-Douglas debates weren't as great as Gingrich thinks
For months, Newt Gingrich has floated the same challenge to President Obama that underdogs have hurled at their political rivals for more than a century: Let's debate. And not just once or twice, but many times, with no moderators to intervene or inhibit us. Just two candidates, head to head — Lincoln-Douglas style. As a Lincoln historian, I've studied the famous meetings between challenger Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Stephen A. Douglas... [read more]

From The New York Times (July 3, 2011)
Lincoln's Rhetorical Fireworks
When the Confederacy opened fire on Fort Sumter in April 1861, Abraham Lincoln responded within hours, ordering a naval blockade of Southern ports and calling for 75,000 volunteers to “maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union.” But in a 19th-century precursor to President Obama’s decision to act alone against Libya... [read more]

From The Washington Post (February 21, 2011)
Conversation on Five myths about Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer was online the morning of Monday, Feb. 21, to chat live about Abraham Lincoln and his latest Outlook piece, Five Myths about Abraham Lincoln... [read more]

From The Washington Post (February 17, 2011)
Five myths about Abraham Lincoln
No American hero, with the possible exception of George "I Cannot Tell a Lie" Washington, has been more encrusted with myth than Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln did boast virtues that required little embellishment. He rose from obscurity through hard work, self-education and honesty. He endured venomous criticism to save the Union and end slavery. He died shortly after his greatest triumph at the hands of an assassin. But tall-tale-tellers have never hesitated to rewrite Lincoln's biography. On Presidents' Day, it's well worth dispelling some perennial misconceptions about the man on the $5 bill... [read more]

From The New York Times (January 26, 2011)
A Blot on Lincoln Historians
These facts remain true: on April 14, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln sent a routine, one-sentence, handwritten order to Joseph Holt, the judge advocate general, pardoning a California soldier, Private Patrick Murphy, who had been sentenced to be shot for desertion... [read more]

From The New York Times (January 20, 2011)
The Critter Himself
When the bohemian sculptor with the unlikely name moved into Springfield, Ill., in the closing days of 1860, his intended subject, the town’s most famous resident, was getting ready to move out of the office he had occupied there for seven months. The approaching Illinois legislative session meant President-elect Abraham Lincoln’s space would be re-claimed by the governor. Arranging formal sittings would not be easy... [read more]

From The Washington Post (December 20, 2010)
A House Divided
If you dared suggesting to President-elect Abraham Lincoln that individual states owned the federal forts within their borders, you would have gotten the following answer from him around Christmas 1860 (in so many words): Bah, humbug! And Lincoln, who otherwise kept his silence on policy issues... [read more]

From The New York Times (November 23, 2010)
The Sound of Lincoln’s Silence
Less than a month after Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency, the nation’s reigning bible of technology, Scientific American, shone a startling new light on the incoming chief executive. Lincoln, it revealed, was an inventor. Eleven years earlier... [read more]

From The New York Times (May 11, 2009)
50 Years In, Lincoln Center’s Name Is Still a Mystery
And so, this Monday morning, let us celebrate the Great Emancipator himself, Abraham Lincoln, who gave his name to Lincoln Center, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of its groundbreaking with an artistic and political extravaganza in the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall starting at 10:30 a.m. Not. Or, well, perhaps... [read more]

From The New York Times (January 19, 2009)
Ask About Lincoln in New York
Harold Holzer, the author of several books on Abraham Lincoln and the historian for the upcoming New-York Historical Society exhibition, "Lincoln and New York," answered selected readers? questions about Abraham Lincoln?s experiences in New York, where he gave the Cooper Union speech that advanced his 1860 presidential campaign, stopped on his way to his 1861 inauguration, and lay in state, at City Hall, following his assassination in 1865... [read more]

From The Huffington Post (January 18, 2009)
7 Days in America: Lesson from Lincoln's Transition & Inaugural
Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer shares the parallels between one lanky Illinois legislator / president-elect and another. Think about it: without Lincoln, no emancipation proclamation, no Obama... and no United States of America... [read more]

From CNN (January 17, 2009)
Commentary: The real ties between Lincoln and Obama
They are big shoes to fill by any standard, political or historical. Pointing to his oversize, specially made boots, Abraham Lincoln once confided that he may have been slow to put his foot down, but once he did, he never went back.... [read more]

From Forbes Magazine (January 15, 2009)
What Barack Obama Can (And Can't) Learn From Abraham Lincoln
How did Lincoln craft two of the greatest inaugural addresses of all time, and how can Obama, already a remarkable orator, rise to that level? What can Obama learn about facing a national economic crisis from the president who confronted the crisis of war within our borders? Why is the "team of rivals" comparison between Obama and Lincoln an exaggeration at best? No one is better equipped to answer such questions than Harold Holzer... [read more]

From City Hall News (October 10, 2008)
Holzer Presents His Memo to the President-Elect, Vintage 1860
by David Giambusso
On the subject of Abraham Lincoln, Harold Holzer-like Lincoln himself-is largely self-taught. In fact, Holzer remembers that his Civil War professor at CUNY did not even like him. "I decided then that I wasn't going to be a history academic. I was going to get into it my own way," he said... [read more]

From The New York Times (February 28, 2007)
One Night Only. Gingrich vs. Cuomo in Elevated Discourse
By Sam Roberts
On Feb. 27, 1860, a “large and enthusiastic assemblage” of 1,500 or so actually paid to hear a relatively obscure and recently defeated United States Senate candidate from the Midwest audition for the presidency... [ read more]

From the Los Angeles Times (December 29, 2006)
Lincoln: Focus On the Real Foe
By Harold Holzer
How would four of the greatest war leaders in history have handled Iraq? President Bush has often cited Lincolnian resolve to justify staying the course in Iraq. He takes inspiration from the knowledge that Abraham Lincoln too endured failure, frustration and dissent, not to mention more American casualties on a single day at Antietam than we've lost in all four years in Iraq. Yet Lincoln still persuaded the North to persevere "until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword." [read more]

From Schenectady Daily Gazette (April 1, 2006)
Lincoln Expert Fond of N.Y. Politics.
By Bill Buell - The Daily Gazette
Having authored, co-written or edited 24 books on Abraham Lincoln, Harold Holzer, it can be assumed, knows quite a lot about our nation’s 16th president and his close associates, including New Yorker and Union College grad William Seward, his secretary of state... [read more]

From Albany Times Union (April 11, 2006)
Author is given a key to city.
Harold Holzer, who serves as senior vice president of external affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, recently received a key to the city of Schenectady.

Holzer is the author of dozens of magazine articles and books about Abraham Lincoln.

He was the recipient of the coveted Lincoln Prize for his 1995 book "Lincoln at Cooper Union: the Speech that made Abraham Lincoln President."

Mayor Brian Stratton presented Holzer with the key during Holzer's appearance as part of Union College's lecture series at the Nott Memorial on the campus.

From The Journal News (June 27, 2004)
The Courtier of New York
By GEORGETTE GOUVEIA
Writer Andrew Solomon fondly recalls the time he shared with Harold Holzer and Bill Clinton in the Lincoln Bedroom... [read more]

From The New York Times (April 8, 2004)
Sam Waterston, the star of the NBC drama "Law & Order"...[read more]


Reviews

From The Seattle Times (October 30,2008)
Looking back at Lincoln's life and leadership
By STEVE RAYMOND
In "Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860–61" (Simon & Schuster, 595 pp., $30), Holzer, a Lincoln scholar with a distinguished list of titles to his credit, provides an unprecedentedly detailed look at Lincoln's activities during that crucial period, when the nation held its breath while Southern states seceded from the Union. Under enormous pressure to say or do something in response to the crisis, Lincoln abstained because, as president-elect, he still lacked authority. But he kept busy; office seekers badgered him around the clock, potential Cabinet appointees vied continually for his favor and in rare private moments the exhausted Lincoln scribbled notes that eventually found their way into his inaugural address.

Holzer offers a day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour account of Lincoln's life during this time, including some nice human touches: Lincoln never did learn to spell "inaugural" correctly, and on the morning of his inauguration ceremony he forgot to pay his bill when he checked out of his Washington, D.C., hotel.

This is a superb book, impeccably researched and entertainingly written. [read more]

From Publishers Weekly (July 28, 2008)
Nonfiction Reviews
Even the most committed of Lincoln's fans have sometimes questioned his actions in the four months between his 1860 election and his inauguration: a period when seven states seceded from the Union. In an engrossing narrative, Holzer (Lincoln at Cooper Union), chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, painstakingly retraces Lincoln's few public statements and numerous private initiatives during this key period, revealing an astute political operator assessing the situation, organizing his government, reaching out to the South "and most of all, "[drawing] a line in the sand to prevent the spread of human slavery." Holzer shows Lincoln shrewdly and methodically manipulating friend and foe alike, while also taking the first cautious steps toward preparing both himself and his country for a grim trial by fire. [read more]

From The Journal News (June 27, 2004)
Lincoln: A figure of speech
By GEORGETTE GOUVEIA
"For all of its universally acknowledged importance, Lincoln's Cooper Union address has for years enjoyed a peculiar reputation," Harold Holzer writes. "It is widely understood to have somehow propelled Lincoln to the presidency. Yet it has been virtually ignored by generations of historians, most of whom have relegated it to the status of exalted footnote."...[read more]

Civil War Book Review
Frank J Williams reviews Harold Holzer's Lincoln at Cooper Union
The time is February, the year, 1860, a Presidential year. The country is dividing, North and South, over the issue of slavery. People are migrating westward into the territories on the Great Plains, and the burning question is whether some are to be held as property in the new land...[more]

Lincoln at Cooper Union:The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President
By Harold Holzer
Review by Steven E. Woodworth, TownHall.com

Harold Holzer's latest gem of a book examines the circumstances, meaning, and consequences
of one of Abraham Lincoln's most important speeches. The speech that Lincoln gave
at Cooper Union in...[read more]


Press Releases

The Civil War Round Table of New York Presents The Barondess/Lincoln Award For 2008 to Craig Symonds and a Special Barondess/Lincoln Bicentennial Prize to Harold Holzer
On February 4, 2009, the Civil War Round Table of New York, in its 58th year of continuous operation, presented the prestigious BARONDESS/LINCOLN AWARD for the 48th consecutive year to Dr. Craig Symonds, prize-winning author and professor emeritus at the United States Naval Academy, and a Special Barondess/Lincoln Bicentennial Prize to Harold Holzer, one of the country’s leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. Read the entire press release.

Read the press release issued by the National Endowment for the Humanities announcing Harold Holzer as a 2008 National Humanities Medal recipient.

From National Endowment For Humanities (September 9, 2004)
HAROLD HOLZER TO DELIVER ENDOWMENT'S "HEROES OF HISTORY" LECTURE AT FORD'S THEATRE Noted author and lecturer is co-chairman of Lincoln Bicentennial Commission...[read more]

Read the press release issued by Simon & Schuster in April 2004 to officially
announce the publication of Harold Holzer's Lincoln at Cooper Union.


Videos

A Fireside Chat: Looking at the Emancipation Proclamation (September 21, 2012)

The preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862, days following the Battle of Antietam. It became effective January 1, 1863 as the nation entered its third year of civil war, forever changing the course of the war. Without question, the Emancipation Proclamation is one of the great American documents of freedom. In a program sponsored by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, three of the foremost Lincoln scholars gathered to interpret, evaluate, and remember the Emancipation Proclamation at its 150th anniversary.

From C-SPAN's “Washington Journal
Harold appeared live to discuss D. C. Emancipation and his new book “Emancipating Lincoln” with host Steve Scully.


From C-SPAN (February 18, 2012)
Abraham Lincoln and Freedom of the Press
Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation Chairman Harold Holzer discussed Abraham Lincoln and the Freedom of the Press during the Civil War. As part of his talk, Mr. Holzer examined the reasoning behind the imprisonment of newspaper editors during the civil war, and the suspension of habeas corpus. This speech was delivered at the New York City Bar Association and was co-hosted by the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York and New York State Archives Partnership Trust. Watch the video here.

From CBS NEWS (January 18, 2009)
Lincoln And Obama Links

Two presidential historians—Harold Holzer and Douglas Brinkley—sat down with CBS News to describe the political parallels and differences between Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln.

Harold Holzer: Transitions—Lincoln/FDR/Obama
Originally Posted November 30, 2008

The time between the election of a president and his taking office presents the challenge of incipient responsibility without direct power. At a time as difficult as the ones faced by Lincoln and FDR, President-Elect Obama will learn from the history of his predecessors.

Book TV: "Why Was Lincoln Murdered"
Originally Posted January 27, 2009
A panel of authors who have written books about President Lincoln debate the circumstances surrounding his assassination at the 10th Annual Lincoln Forum Symposium in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The panelists inlcude, James Swanson, author of "Manhunt," Michael Kauffman, author of "American Brutus," Louise Taper, author of "Right or Wrong God Judge Me: The Writings of John Wilkes Booth," Edward Steers, the editor of "The Trial," Thomas Reed Turner, author of "Beware the People Weeping," and Frank Williams, the Chairman of The Lincoln Forum. The panel is moderated by Harold Holzer, Vice Chairman of The Lincoln Forum.