This illustrated talk invites us to reimagine the bloody, transformative American Civil War—and the men and women who fought it—through surviving objects that they wore, wrote, carried, painted, sculpted, or collected during this transformative upheaval. From the iconic (one of the pikes John Brown’s abolitionist crusaders carried to Harpers Ferry, or the handwritten terms for Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox) to the startlingly rare (Lincoln’s secretly written estimate of his chances at re-election, or an impeccably preserved Union soldier’s uniform in the incongruous style of a Foreign Legion fighter), these relics vividly reflect the human side of the conflict, and its enormous impact on life, property, and the national social order.
All the treasures come from the collection of the New-York Historical Society, and were featured in Harold Holzer’s widely praised 2013 book, The Civil War in 50 Objects.
Harold Holzer / Hunter College
Harold Holzer, winner of The 2015 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, is one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, Holzer was co-chairman of the U. S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, appointed by President Clinton. President Bush awarded Holzer the National Humanities Medal in 2008. And in 2013, Holzer wrote a Lincoln essay for the official program at the re-inauguration of President Obama. He also served as historical consultant for the Steven Spielberg film "Lincoln".