Noted author and lecturer is co-chairman of Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
WASHINGTON (September 9, 2004) -- Harold Holzer, a prolific writer and lecturer and one of the nation's leading authorities on the Civil War era, will deliver the second annual "Heroes of History Lecture" on Oct. 18 at historic Ford's Theatre in Washington, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today.
Holzer, whose latest book is Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President (2004), will speak on "Abraham Lincoln, American Hero."
"The story of America is the story of heroic individuals--common men and women who perform uncommon deeds. American heroes defend freedom, advance liberty, and dare to do great things," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "The Heroes of History lecture explores the stories of these courageous Americans by providing new insights into their lives, their decisions, and the consequences of their actions. Harold Holzer, a prolific author and respected scholar, will take us on a journey to rediscover the plain-spoken heroism of one such figure, President Abraham Lincoln."
The Heroes of History lecture is part of the Endowment's We the People initiative designed to strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. The lecture is an annual event and carries a $10,000 honorarium. Holzer currently serves as co-chairman of the United States Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, established by Congress in 2000 to study, plan, and recommend to Congress the most appropriate government activities to honor the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009. An authority on Lincoln and the Civil War, Holzer has authored, co-authored, and edited 23 books. He also has written more than 350 articles for both popular magazines and scholarly journals. Holzer makes frequent guest appearances on television and lectures before Civil War and Lincoln groups throughout the country.
Among his many honors are the Barondess Award of the Civil War Round Table of New York (1984, 1990, 1993), the Diploma of Honor from Lincoln Memorial University (1988), the Award of Achievement from the Lincoln Group of New York (1988 and 1993), a 1988 George Washington Medal from the Freedom Foundation, a 1980 Writer of Distinction Award from the International Reading Association, and a 1993 Award of Superior Achievement from the Illinois State Historical Society. In 2002 Holzer received the coveted Nevins-Freeman Award of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago. In 1996 he won the first annual award from the Manuscript Society of America for his use of original manuscripts in his book, Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President (1993). In 1992 Lincoln College awarded Holzer an honorary doctorate in humane letters.
Educated at the City University of New York, Holzer began his career as a newspaper editor for The Manhattan Tribune. He also has been a political campaign press secretary for Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug and Governor Mario M. Cuomo, a government speechwriter for New York City Mayor Abraham D. Beame, and public affairs director for the PBS flagship station WNET. Holzer currently serves as vice president for communications and marketing at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The Oct. 18 event also will include the awarding of medals to six high school juniors for their essays in the "Idea of America Essay Contest." Entrants in this year's contest were asked to respond to the question, "How does the Gettysburg Address reflect America's founding ideas, and what is the relevance of the speech today?" The author of the winning essay will receive a grand prize of $5,000; five other finalists each will receive $1,000. Winners will be announced in the coming weeks. Admission to the 2004 Heroes of History Lecture is free to ticketed guests. To request tickets, please visit the NEH Web site at www.neh.gov  no later than Oct. 8, 2004.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places