Cover image for Lincoln seen and heard
Lincoln seen and heard
Holzer, Harold.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, [2000]

Physical Description:
xi, 226 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E457.6 .H66 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



His image today is part of America, from the penny to Mount Rushmore, but in his own day Abraham Lincoln was as much reviled as he was revered, and he remained a controversial figure up to the time of his assassination. Now one of our preeminent authorities on Lincoln charts his rocky road from obscure western politician to national icon.

In Lincoln Seen and Heard , Harold Holzer probes the development of Lincoln's image and reputation in his own time. He examines a vast array of visual and documentary sources to demonstrate the president's impact both on the public and on the historical imagination, enabling us to see the man from Illinois as his contemporaries saw him.

Holzer considers a wide range of images-prints, portraits, political cartoons-to reveal what they say about Lincoln. He shows the ways in which Lincoln was depicted as Great Emancipator and as commander in chief, how he was assailed in cartoons from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and how printmakers both memorialized and capitalized on his assassination. Sharing dozens of historic reproductions, Holzer writes with unabashed enthusiasm as he unravels the symbolic meaning and the message of these images and explains their relation to political and military events of the time.

Holzer also takes a closer look at Lincoln's oratory, the words of a man often ridiculed for his homespun manner of speaking. He shows how Lincoln's choice of words in the Emancipation Proclamation was actually designed to minimize its humanitarianism and argues that the story of his failure at Gettysburg has been unfairly exaggerated. Through this provocative collection, Lincoln emerges not only as a leader dependent upon his public image but also as an active participant in its development. Lincoln Seen and Heard helps us distinguish man from myth, while offering a superb introduction to the work of one of our most provocative Lincoln scholars.

Author Notes

Harold Holzer is one of the leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. He is a prolific writer and lecturer. He has written, co-written and edited over 30 books including Abraham Lincoln, The Writer (2000), which was named to the Children's Literature Choice List and the Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year, and Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President (2004), which won a 2005 Lincoln Prize. He has also written over 425 popular magazine and scholarly journal articles and numerous pamphlets and monographs. He has won numerous awards including the Barondess Award of the Civil War Round Table of New York five times; the Award of Achievement from the Lincoln Group of New York three times; a 1988 George Washington Medal; the 2000 Newman Book Award; and the 2008 National Humanities Medal. He is the Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 Father, Martyr, and Myth
1 "Prized in Every Liberty-Loving Household": The Image of the Great Emancipator in the Graphic Artsp. 7
2 "That Attractive Rainbow": The Image of Lincoln as Commander in Chiefp. 34
3 Dying to Be Seen: Prints of the Lincoln Assassinationp. 53
Part 2 Controversy and Public Memory
4 The Mirror Image of Civil War Memory: Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis in Popular Printsp. 73
5 With Malice Toward One, or "Ridicule Without Much Malice"? Lincoln in Caricature Reconsideredp. 103
6 Lincoln in Confederate Cartoons: A "Lean-Sided Yankee," Seldom Seenp. 128
Part 3 The Gift of Language and the Language of Gifts
7 "Tokens of Respect" and "Heartfelt Thanks": How Lincoln Coped with Presidential Giftsp. 149
8 "Avoid Saying Foolish Things": The Legacy of Lincoln's Impromptu Oratoryp. 162
9 The Poetry and Prose of the Emancipation Proclamationp. 179
10 Lincoln's "Flat Failure": The Gettysburg Myth Revisitedp. 191
Notesp. 199
Indexp. 217