At one point, it looked as if Harold Holzer would run the library.
Holzer's story is that "he announced that he was no longer interested because Illinois officials had reduced the scope and authority of the directorship."
Had he [Holzer] been selected, John Simon [Grant papers editor and critic of the Disneyfication of the library and museum] would be a happy camper. Simon's unhappiness [with the Library] is rooted in a combination of the bizarre world of Illinois history politics/Lincoln politics/professional frustration... About a decade ago there was a major upheaval in the Abraham Lincoln Association, which is the "official" organization (it makes decisions about Lincoln's papers, etc.). Frank Williams headed it... He was ... caught plagiarizing in a chapter of collected essays. He would not leave gracefully, so he was deposed. Off in a huff went Gabor Boritt, Holzer, Simon, and Williams. Cullom Davis took over.
Boritt, Simon, Williams, and Holzer decided that they could run their own little show at Gettysburg ... thus the Lincoln Forum. Note who won a prize from the Lincoln Forum this year. Note who won a chunk of the Lincoln Prize. [...] The papers merit the prize; paper projects, however, are a team effort. Note who currently heads the Grant Association [Frank J. Williams].
And then there's the link between Boritt, the Lincoln Prize, and the Gilder-Lehrman folks [who fund the Lincoln prize], who have a celebrate Lincoln agenda. The fun part of that is the scramble on Holzer's part to shift from [his Lincoln books co-author] Mario Cuomo [former Democratic governor who appointed Holzer to state positions] to the Republican-controlled Gilder-Lehrman folks. [Lehrman actually ran against Cuomo in the 1980s.] The Lincoln Forum crowd has very good relations with C-SPAN.
And so, the Williams party, in Babylonian exile, takes its shots at the Library's former and current management.
Simon, Holzer, Williams, and Boritt are hardly innocent parties. The next part of the power struggle is for who will control the Lincoln Bicentennial.
That battle is underway. Richard Norton Smith proclaims he "is making big plans for opening the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in April that include a block party, banquet and torchlight parade. The director of the library and museum complex sees the museum's spring debut as a kickoff to a decade of celebrations of the 16th president."
A decade of largesse and patronage, I'm tempted to say. Meanwhile, in his corner of the Lincoln field, Harold Holzer announces... nothing yet. Looks like Smith has stolen a march.
Have we forgotten someone? Yes. Lincoln scholar Pat Sajak (scroll down).
Thank you, reader.