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NY State Library Acquires Research Papers of Lincoln Scholar and Rye Resident Holzer

The New York State Library has acquired the complete works of award-winning Abraham Lincoln scholar, historian and Rye resident Harold Holzer. The acquisition covers Mr. Holzer’s 49-year career as a writer, lecturer, and historian specializing in President Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era.

In 2018, Holzer netted $300K from auctioning his collection of more than 700 items related to President Abraham Lincoln.

(PHOTO: Holzer poses with his grandson Charles after receiving the National Humanities Medal at the White House in 2008. Credit: HaroldHolzer.com)
(PHOTO: Holzer poses with his grandson Charles after receiving the National Humanities Medal at the White House in 2008. Credit: HaroldHolzer.com)

“At a time when our nation is increasingly divided, we can all draw inspiration from the tremendous work of President Lincoln,” said Commissioner Betty A. Rosa. “Harold Holzer’s research papers span the life of President Lincoln, his efforts to bring our country together and abolish slavery. We are grateful for Mr. Holzer’s support of the State Library and this remarkable donation.”

“It’s a great honor to know that this material, which reflects so much of my work in the six decades since the 1970s, will be preserved at this wonderful institution—one where I have conducted research of my own and learned a great deal from its holdings,” said Harold Holzer. “As someone who has worked in Albany and has known so many extraordinary people here—in government, education, historic preservation, the museum world, and the arts—I am thrilled that our capital will hold this archive in perpetuity.”

The complete collection includes the research files and typescripts from Mr. Holzer’s 55 authored and co-authored books; more than 150 original lectures; photo files covering the development of the Lincoln image, and the art and iconography of the American Civil War; audio and video recordings of Holzer’s many television and radio appearances; and Holzer’s original correspondence from some of the leading historians, political leaders, and performers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Mr. Holzer’s donation comes on the 30th anniversary of his appointment to the Board of the New York State Archives Partnership Trust, a post to which he was named by Governor Mario Cuomo in 1992 and still holds. Holzer was awarded the NY State Archives & History Award in 2017. He serves currently as the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, CUNY.

In addition to his work with the State Library, Mr. Holzer’s distinguished career features several accolades, including the National Humanities Medal presented by President George W. Bush in 2008; an appointment to co-chair of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission by President Bill Clinton; and writing the Lincoln essay in the official commemorative book for the re-inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Mr. Holzer has hosted conferences at the New York State Museum focusing on the Empire State and the Civil War, delivered lectures, and, at the request of former Governor Andrew Cuomo, helped organize a statewide tour of Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which the New York State Library has owned since 1865. Mr. Holzer also co-directed the project to reinstall the portraits in the New York State Capitol Hall of Governors.

The NYS Research Library was established in 1818 to collect, preserve, and make available materials that support NY State government work. The library’s collections include over 20 million items and are utilized by researchers on-site, online, and via interlibrary loan.

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