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July 11, 2012

‘Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally’ Is Subject of Book Discussion

Joseph Holt Successfully Worked to Keep Kentucky in the Union

Joseph Holt was a deeply committed Unionist from Kentucky, who spent the first several months of the Civil War successfully laboring to maintain the state’s loyalty to the Union despite the concerted efforts of secessionists. He later became President Lincoln’s judge advocate general and accepted responsibility for bringing those involved in Lincoln’s assassination conspiracy to justice.

In a new biography, author Elizabeth D. Leonard illuminates the history of this seldom-discussed but important figure in Lincoln’s presidency. Leonard will discuss and sign "Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky" (University of North Carolina Press, 2011) on Wednesday, July 25, at noon in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Manuscript Division, where Leonard did much of her research. It is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

According to Leonard, Joseph Holt’s reputation has suffered because of his hard-line position toward the South and his portrayal as a brutal prosecutor of those involved in the assassination. "Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally" seeks to restore Holt – who dedicated his energy and influence to ensuring that the Union victory would bring about positive change for the nation – to his rightful place in U.S. history.

Elizabeth D. Leonard is the John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History at Colby College. She is the author of several other books, including "Lincoln’s Avengers: Justice, Revenge and Reunion After the Civil War."

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

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PR 12-138
ISSN 0731-3527

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