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Harold Holzer

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Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is considered one of the country’s leading authorities on the political culture of the Civil War era. He is co-chairman of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, appointed by President Clinton in September 2000, and elected co-chairman in 2001. For additional information, please visit Mr. Holzer's website at www.haroldholzer.com.

Holzer has authored, co-authored, and edited 26 books: The Lincoln Image (1984); Changing the Lincoln Image (1985); and The Confederate Image (1987), all with Mark E. Neely, Jr. and Gabor S. Boritt; The Lincoln Family Album (1990) and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: the Civil War in Art (1993) with Neely; and Lincoln on Democracy (1990) with Mario M. Cuomo, published in four languages. Alone, he published The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1993); Washington and Lincoln Portrayed (1993); Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President (1993); Witness to War: The Civil War (1996); The Civil War Era (1996); The Lincoln Mailbag: America Writes to the President (1998); The Union Preserved: A Guide to Civil War Records in the New York State Archives (with Daniel Lorello, 1999), The Lincoln Forum: Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, and the Civil War (co-edited with John Y. Simon and William Pederson, 1999); Lincoln as I Knew Him (1999); The Union Image (with Mark E. Neely, Jr., 2000); Lincoln Seen and Heard (2000); Abraham Lincoln, The Writer (2000, named to the “Children’s Literature Choice List,” and the Bank Street “Best Children’s Books of the Year.”); Prang’s Civil War: The Complete Battle Chromos of Louis Prang (2001); State of the Union: New York and the Civil War (2002); The Lincoln Forum: Rediscovering Abraham Lincoln (co-edited with John Y. Simon, 2002); The President is Shot! The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (2004), and most recently, the award winning Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President (2004)

In addition, Holzer has written more than 350 articles for both popular magazines and scholarly journals, along with several pamphlets and monographs on Lincoln, the latest of which is Lincoln’s Deathbed in Art and Memory (with Frank J. Williams, 1998), and Lincoln and the Jews (2002). And Holzer has contributed chapters to 21 additional books, including The Encyclopedia of the Confederacy (1993); Lincoln and His Contemporaries (1999); Jefferson Davis’s Generals (1999) and The Lincoln Enigma (2001). Recently he served as historical advisor to Why Lincoln Matters by Mario Cuomo.

A frequent guest on television, Holzer has appeared on Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom (PBS, 1992), Civil War Journals (A&E, 1994), American Heritage Presents the Lincoln Assassination (History Channel, 1995), A&E’s Biography (1996), and the History Channel special, Assassins: John Wilkes Booth. Holzer’s appearance on C-SPAN’s Booknotes series inspired the re-creation of all seven Lincoln-Douglas debates in Illinois in 1994, for which Holzer served as historical consultant and on-air commentator. He has since appeared regularly on the C-SPAN network, as well as on C-SPAN II (Book TV); The Today Show, The Charlie Rose Show, Equal Time: Coast to Coast on CNBC, Fox News, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CBS Sunday Morning, and a recent History Channel special on the Gettysburg Address. His most recent TV appearance was the three-hour C-SPAN American Writers special on Abraham Lincoln.

Holzer, a former adjunct professor of history at Pace University, lectures widely before Civil War and Lincoln groups throughout the country. He has delivered the McMurtry Lecture, the Lincoln Shrine Lecture, the Frank and Virginia Williams Lecture, and the Fortenbaugh Lecture. He has organized several Lincoln symposia and curated three museum exhibitions of original art, most recently the award-winning 1999 Lincoln Museum exhibit, Lincoln From Life.

Holzer has four times won the Barondess Award of the Civil War Round Table of New York (1984, 1990, 1993; plus an honorable mention in 1999 for Lincoln from Life); received the Diploma of Honor from Lincoln Memorial University (1988); three times won the Award of Achievement from the Lincoln Group of New York (1988, 1993, and 2004); received a 1988 George Washington Medal from the Freedom Foundation; won a 1989 Writer of Distinction Award from the International Reading Association; and earned a 1993 Award of Superior Achievement from the Illinois State Historical Society, along with an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Lincoln College in 1992. In 1996 he won the first annual award from the Manuscript Society of America for his use of original manuscripts in Dear Mr. Lincoln. His The Union Image won the 2000 Newman Book Award of the American Historical Print Collectors Society.

From 1991 through 1996, Holzer served as president of the Lincoln Group of New York. He also served on the board of directors of the Abraham Lincoln Association, and on the editorial advisory board of The Lincoln Herald. He is founding vice chairman of The Lincoln Forum, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Ulysses S. Grant Association. He is also a member of the board of historical advisors of the President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home National Monument, the U.S.S. Monitor Center at the Mariners Museum, the Tredegar National Civil War Foundation, and the new Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. 

Holzer was appointed by Gov. Mario Cuomo to the New York State Archives Preservation Trust Board in 1994, and was re-appointed by Gov. George Pataki in 1999, and by the New York State Senate in 2004. In that role he delivered an address on the Emancipation Proclamation at the New York State Museum in 1998, and in 1999 co-organized and served as lead historian for a Union Preserved Civil War symposium in Albany.

Educated at the City University of New York, Holzer worked as a weekly newspaper editor, a political campaign press secretary, a government speechwriter, and as public affairs director for the PBS flagship station WNET before joining The Metropolitan Museum of Art as Chief Communications Officer in 1992. He was named Vice President for Communications and Marketing in 1996, and became Senior Vice President in January 2005. From 1984 through 1992 he served as Special Counselor to the Director of Economic Development in the administration of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.

Holzer lives in Rye, New York with his wife, Edith, director of public affairs for the Council of Child Caring Agencies. The Holzers have two daughters: Remy, a graduate of Harvard University who holds an M.A. from NYU, and Meg, a graduate of Yale University and NYU Law School.

 Appointed by the President of the United States of America.