Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hold on for more Holzer

Famed Lincoln author does it again
There are more books written about Abraham Lincoln than anyone except Jesus Christ, and a New York man is the author, co-author or editor of more than 30 of them. Please join me in congratulating Harold Holzer on his latest - Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 - published by Simon & Schuster and in bookstores this week. It’s already receiving accolades from leading Lincoln scholars.

I first “met” Harold Holzer in 1998, when I had the opportunity to review his book, The Lincoln Mailbag: America Writes to the President, 1861-1865 for The State Journal-Register. It was my second book review and Holzer’s eleventh book. It was seven years before I was to meet the author in person – at an event we’ll both always remember.

An event of historic proportion
Holzer was one of the speakers at the scholarly conference, Lincoln in the 21st Century, at the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. in April 2005. The roster of speakers at the conference was a Who’s Who of Lincoln scholars, with more than 20 world-renowned scholars presenting. Holzer was on a three-generation panel with a patriarch of Lincoln scholars, David Herbert Donald, and Donald’s protégé and former grad assistant, Matthew Pinsker. The event was moderated by Brian Lamb of C-SPAN.

I got to meet Holzer that weekend and also got to ask a question of the three-generation panel. Today I can’t remember the exact words I used back then, but it was something like, “Do you think it is possible for someone to begin studying Lincoln this late in life and become knowledgeable enough to gain the respect of scholars such as these?” C-SPAN was taping that day, so the memory of the broadcast tapes is surely more accurate than my own.

The three scholars – and Lamb – could not have been more encouraging. Their advice: “Get involved in the Lincoln world. Attend events such as this one. No, it’s not too late.”

And the list goes on
Holzer’s life since that day in Springfield has been more productive than mine. He’s co-authored or edited twenty more books since that one I reviewed in 1998 – 31 in all:

  • The Lincoln Image (1984)

  • Changing the Lincoln Image (1985)

  • The Confederate Image, (1987)

  • The Lincoln Family Album (1990)

  • Lincoln on Democracy (1990)

  • Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Civil War in Art (1993)

  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1993)

  • Washington and Lincoln Portrayed (1993)

  • Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President (1993)

  • Witness to War (1996)

  • The Civil War Era (1996)

  • The Lincoln Mailbag: America Writes to the President (1998)

  • The Union Preserved (1999)

  • The Lincoln Forum: Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, and the Civil War (1999)

  • Lincoln as I Knew Him (1999)

  • The Union Image (2000)

  • Lincoln Seen and Heard (2000)

  • Abraham Lincoln, The Writer (2000)

  • 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 ( 2002)

  • The President is Shot! The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (2004)

  • Lincoln At Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President (2004)

  • Lincoln in the Times: The Life of Abraham Lincoln as Originally Reported in the New York Times (2005)

  • The Battle of Hampton Roads (2006)

  • The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (2006)

  • Lincoln in the Collections of the Indiana Historical Society (2006)

  • Lincoln and Freedom (2007)

  • Lincoln Revisited (2007)

  • Lincoln's White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O.Stoddard (2007)

Holzer is also the author of several hundred articles on Lincoln, has served in an advisory capacity to more Lincoln projects than anyone could fathom and has won numerous honors for his work. See his website to learn more. It’s only fitting and proper that Holzer is a co-chair of the United States Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Late-blooming scholar
But more memorable than any of the words Holzer has set in type are the words of encouragement to an aging baby boomer wanting to pursue a dream. In essence, he said, “Do it.”

Today, I’m taking a class about Lincoln, attending Lincoln-related events and using this blog to celebrate the 16th President and those who so passionately share their passion for him. Who says it’s too late to follow your heart?

Thanks, Harold, for encouraging me to listen to mine, and congratulations!

© Copyright 2008 Ann Tracy Mueller. All rights reserved.

No comments: