Abraham Lincoln is, by tradition, one of American history's quintessential westerners. But Lincoln owed much of his national political success, not to mention his enshrinement in public memory, to his impact on the quintessentially eastern state of New York, and in turn, New York's profound impact on him. This constitutes virtually unexplored intellectual territory. That New York's publishers, business leaders, elected officials, writers, preachers, and editors were able convincingly to introduce successive images at the same time they promulgated a parallel, wholly negative Lincoln reputation-that of frontier hick, jokester, ruthless military leader, and heartless tyrant-constitutes one of the most astonishing episodes in the history of what Lincoln himself once called 'public sentiment'. Only in New York could such robust, and contradictory, public relations campaigns have been launched and sustained in tandem.
Harold Holzer has served since 2000 as co-chairman of the U. S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, to which he was appointed by President Clinton. He is the author, co-author, or editor of thirty-four books on Lincoln and the Civil War era. Among them are The Lincoln Image, The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Lincoln as I Knew Him, Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Civil War in Art, Lincoln on Democracy (co-edited with Mario Cuomo), which has been published in four languages, and Lincoln at Cooper Union, which won a 2005 Lincoln Prize. Among his many other honors, he was presented the 2008 National Humanities Medal by President Bush. His latest books are Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 (2008), which won the Barondess/Lincoln Award and awards of achievement from the Lincoln Group of New York and the Illinois State Historical Society; The Lincoln Anthology (2009), a Library of America collection featuring 150 year s of great writer s on the subject of Abraham Lincoln; and In Lincoln's Hand (2009), a Library of Congress book of Lincoln's original manuscripts with commentary by distinguished Americans. Contributors: Jean H. Baker, Barnet Schecter, Craig L. Symonds, James Oliver Horton, Frank J. Williams, Catherine Clinton and Michael Kammen.