Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Harold Holzer  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1949


-- Website -- http://www.haroldholzer.com
-- Harold Holzer on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=harold+holzer


Illinois Connection

The Author was co-chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission from 2001 to 2010 and has written extensively about an Illinois subject of interest - Abraham Lincoln.

Biographical and Professional Information

A prolific writer, Mr. Holzer has written and edited over 37 books and numerous artlicles about various aspects on the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln. He has also appeared frequently on television. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Award For Superior Achievement from the Illinois State Historical Society in 1993, The Lincoln Prize for his book about Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech in 2005, and the National Humanities Medal from President Bush and the National Endowement for the Humanities in 2008 to name a few.Currently he serves as Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where he is responsible for marketing, communications, government relations, internal communications, admissions, visitor services, and multicultural audience development at the nation's largest art institution.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The New York Times: Complete Civil War, 1861-1865 (Book & CD)
ISBN: 1579128459

Black Dog & Leventhal. 2010

The Civil War as you've never experienced it before, through original, first-hand reportage of The New York Times, the country's newspaper of record.

Available for the first time in a unique book/DVD package

The New York Times
, established in 1851, was one of the few newspapers with correspondents on the front lines throughout the Civil War. The Complete Civil War collects every article written about the war from 1861 to 1865, plus select pieces before and after the war and is filled with the action, politics, and personal stories of this monumental event. From the first shot fired at Fort Sumter to the surrender at Appomattox, and from the Battle of Antietam to the Battle of Atlanta, as well as articles on slavery, states rights, the role of women, and profiles of noted heroes such as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, the era comes alive through these daily first-hand accounts.

? More than 600 of the most crucial and interesting articles in the book?typeset and designed for easy reading
? Commentary by Editors and Civil War scholars Harold Holzer and Craig Symonds
? More than 104,000 additional articles on the DVD-ROM? every article the Times published during the war.
? A detailed chronology highlights articles and events of interest that can be found on the disk.

Strikingly designed and illustrated with hundreds of maps, historical photographs, and engravings, this book is a treasure for Civil War and history buffs everywhere.

"This is a fascinating and riveting look at the most important event in American history as seen through the eyes of an institution that was emerging as the most important newspaper in American history.

In these pages, the Civil War seems new and fresh, unfolding day after anxious day, as the fate of the republic hangs in the balance."

Ken Burns

"Serious historians and casual readers alike will find this extraordinary collection of 600 articles and editorials about the Civil War published in The New York Times before and during the war of great value and interest...enough to keep the most assiduous student busy for the next four years of the war's sesquicentennial observations."

James McPherson

"This fascinating work catapults readers back in time, allowing us to live through the Civil War as daily readers of The New York Times, worrying about the outcome of battles, wondering about our generals, debating what to do about slavery, hearing the words that Lincoln spoke, feeling passionate about our politics.

Symonds and Holzer have found an ingenious new way to experience the most dramatic event in our nation's history."
Doris Kearns Goodwin

"Harold Holzer and Craig Symonds have included not only every pertinent article from the pages of The Times, but enhanced and illuminated them with editorial commentary that adds context and perspective, making the articles more informative and useful here than they were in the original issues.

Nowhere else can readers of today get such an understanding of how readers of 1861-1865 learned of and understood their war." William C Davis

The DVD runs on Windows 2000/XP or Mac OS X 10.3 or later.



Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861
ISBN: 074328948X

Simon & Schuster. 2009

One of our most eminent Lincoln scholars, winner of a Lincoln Prize for his Lincoln at Cooper Union, examines the four months between Lincoln's election and inauguration, when the president-elect made the most important decision of his coming presidency -- there would be no compromise on slavery or secession of the slaveholding states, even at the cost of civil war.

Abraham Lincoln first demonstrated his determination and leadership in the Great Secession Winter -- the four months between his election in November 1860 and his inauguration in March 1861 -- when he rejected compromises urged on him by Republicans and Democrats, Northerners and Southerners, that might have preserved the Union a little longer but would have enshrined slavery for generations. Though Lincoln has been criticized by many historians for failing to appreciate the severity of the secession crisis that greeted his victory, Harold Holzer shows that the presidentelect waged a shrewd and complex campaign to prevent the expansion of slavery while vainly trying to limit secession to a few Deep South states.

During this most dangerous White House transition in American history, the country had two presidents: one powerless (the president-elect, possessing no constitutional authority), the other paralyzed (the incumbent who refused to act). Through limited, brilliantly timed and crafted public statements, determined private letters, tough political pressure, and personal persuasion, Lincoln guaranteed the integrity of the American political process of majority rule, sounded the death knell of slavery, and transformed not only his own image but that of the presidency, even while making inevitable the war that would be necessary to make these achievements permanent.

Lincoln President-Elect is the first book to concentrate on Lincoln's public stance and private agony during these months and on the momentous consequences when he first demonstrated his determination and leadership. Holzer recasts Lincoln from an isolated prairie politician yet to establish his greatness, to a skillful shaper of men and opinion and an immovable friend of freedom at a decisive moment when allegiance to the founding credo "all men are created equal" might well have been sacrificed.

Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President (Simon & Schuster Lincoln Library)
ISBN: 0743299647

Simon & Schuster. 2006

Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Lincoln at Cooper Union explores Lincoln's most influential and widely reported pre-presidential address -- an extraordinary appeal by the western politician to the eastern elite that propelled him toward the Republican nomination for president. Delivered in New York in February 1860, the Cooper Union speech dispelled doubts about Lincoln's suitability for the presidency and reassured conservatives of his moderation while reaffirming his opposition to slavery to Republican progressives.

Award-winning Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer places Lincoln and his speech in the context of the times -- an era of racism, politicized journalism, and public oratory as entertainment -- and shows how the candidate framed the speech as an opportunity to continue his famous "debates" with his archrival Democrat Stephen A. Douglas on the question of slavery.

Holzer describes the enormous risk Lincoln took by appearing in New York, where he exposed himself to the country's most critical audience and took on Republican Senator William Henry Seward of New York, the front runner, in his own backyard. Then he recounts a brilliant and innovative public relations campaign, as Lincoln took the speech "on the road" in his successful quest for the presidency.

The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory A Lincoln Forum Book (The North's Civil War)
ISBN: 0823232263

Fordham University Press. 2010

The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln remains one of the most prominent events in U.S. history. It continues to attract enormous and intense interest from scholars, writers, and armchair historians alike, ranging from painstaking new research to wild-eyed speculation. At the end of the Lincoln bicentennial year, and the onset of the Civil War sesquicentennial, the leading scholars of Lincoln and his murder offer in one volume their latest studies and arguments about the assassination, its aftermath, the extraordinary public reaction (which was more complex than has been previously believed), and the iconography that Lincoln’s murder and deification inspired. Contributors also offer the most up-to-date accounts of the parallel legal event of the summer of 1865―the relentless pursuit, prosecution, and punishment of the conspirators. Everything from graphic tributes to religious sermons, to spontaneous outbursts on the streets of the nation’s cities, to emotional mass-mourning at carefully organized funerals, as well as the imposition of military jurisprudence to try the conspirators, is examined in the light of fresh evidence and insightful analysis.

The contributors are among the finest scholars who are studying Lincoln’s assassination. All have earned well-deserved reputations for the quality of their research, their thoroughness, their originality, and their writing. In addition to the editors, contributors include Thomas R. Turner, Edward Steers Jr., Michael W. Kauffman, Thomas P. Lowry, Richard E. Sloan, Elizabeth D. Leonard, and Richard Nelson Current.

Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: The Civil War in Art
ISBN: 0517584484

Crown. 1993

A stunning and definitive look at the best and most important artworks of the Civil War era. Includes sweeping battlefield panoramas, grisly combat tableaux, camp scenes, and heroic portraiture of military leaders, all accompanied by a lively text that is as entertaining as it is informative. Full-color and black-and-white photographs.

The President Is Shot!: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
ISBN: 1563979853

Calkins Creek. 2004

On Friday evening, April 14, 1865, less than a week after the surrender of Confederate forces, John Wilkes Booth crept into Ford's Theatre and murdered Abraham Lincoln. Though it happened nearly 150 years ago, no one has been sure why it happened. In this riveting book, Harold Holzer, one of the country's leading authorities on Lincoln, sweeps away the fog of history to answer the questions surrounding Lincoln's assassination. He shows the conditions of the time that led to the tragic event at Ford's Theatre, and why those who hated Lincoln, such as John Wilkes Booth, sought such horrifying revenge. Filled with dramatic detail and illustrated with archival photographs, this book is bound to be considered an essential work for young readers.

The Union Image: Popular Prints of the Civil War North (Civil War America)
ISBN: 0807825107

The University of North Carolina Press. 2000

During the American Civil War, popular prints were frequently used to depict, define, and celebrate both the Union and Confederate causes. The Union Image explores the graphic arts that portrayed the Northern side--both in patriotic pictures and newsworthy illustrations published while the war raged and in retrospective images issued years later as major weapons in the postwar battle to shape the national memory.

Created not for connoisseurs but for ordinary Americans, these engravings and lithographs depicted battles, commanders, life in camp and on campaign, the sacrifices of home and hearth, and an election campaign that roiled the North in the midst of the war. This volume reproduces nearly 150 original prints, allowing readers to trace changes in Northern public opinion, from Northerners' early high hopes for success to their appreciation for the ultimate victors, the "real men of war," Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.

Witness to War: The Civil War 1861-1865
ISBN: 0399522034

Perigee Trade. 1996

Offering a dramatic firsthand view of the period, a collection of personal letters, documents, speeches, and recollections from Union and Confederate soldiers and leaders includes never-before-published accounts of the Civil War. Original.

The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)
ISBN: 080713144X

LSU Press. 2006

The Emancipation Proclamation is the most important document of arguably the greatest president in U.S. history. Now, Edna Greene Medford, Frank J. Williams, and Harold Holzer -- eminent experts in their fields -- remember, analyze, and interpret the Emancipation Proclamation in three distinct respects: the influence of and impact upon African Americans

the legal, political, and military exigencies

and the role pictorial images played in establishing the document in public memory. The result is a carefully balanced yet provocative study that views the proclamation and its author from the perspective of fellow Republicans, antiwar Democrats, the press, the military, the enslaved, free blacks, and the antislavery white establishment, as well as the artists, publishers, sculptors, and their patrons who sought to enshrine Abraham Lincoln and his decree of freedom in iconography.Medford places African Americans, the people most affected by Lincoln's edict, at the center of the drama rather than at the periphery, as previous studies have done. She argues that blacks interpreted the proclamation much more broadly than Lincoln intended it, and during the postwar years and into the twentieth century they became disillusioned by the broken promise of equality and the realities of discrimination, violence, and economic dependence. Williams points out the obstacles Lincoln overcame in finding a way to confiscate property -- enslaved humans -- without violating the Constitution. He suggests that the president solidified his reputation as a legal and political genius by issuing the proclamation as Commander-in-Chief, thus taking the property under the pretext of military necessity. Holzer explores how it was only after Lincoln's assassination that the Emancipation Proclamation became an acceptable subject for pictorial celebration. Even then, it was the image of the martyr-president as the great emancipator that resonated in public memory, while any reference to those African Americans most affected by the proclamation was stripped away.This multilayered treatment reveals that the proclamation remains a singularly brave and bold act -- brilliantly calculated to maintain the viability of the Union during wartime, deeply dependent on the enlightened voices of Lincoln's contemporaries, and owing a major debt in history to the image-makers who quickly and indelibly preserved it.


Availability for Public Speaking

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

Holzer is senior vice-president for External Affairs at the Metroplitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City.