Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg

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Carl Sandburg was a 20th-century American writer, known for his free verse poems celebrating the American people, countryside, and industry in the heartland of the United States, and for his six-volume biography, Abraham Lincoln.BeginningsCarl August Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on January 6, 1878. He was the son of poor Swedish immigrants, August Sandburg, a railroad blacksmith's helper, and Clara Mathilda Anderson. His hard-working parents instilled in him and his six siblings the necessity of hard work and education, as well as a reverence for the American Dream.When Carl entered first grade, he Americanized his Swedish Christian name, thereafter signing his school papers and his early writings as Charles A. Carl shined shoes, delivered milk and newspapers, and performed other odd jobs.Widening horizonsIn 1896, Sandburg made his first significant journey, a trip to Chicago on a railroad pass that he had borrowed from his father. The following year, Sandburg decided to see the country and worked his way west as a hobo, stowing away on top and inside railroad boxcars, traveling through Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado in search of odd jobs.After a few months, Sandburg returned to Galesburg. During a brief period as a housepainter, he became restless and enlisted in Company C, Sixth Infantry Regiment of the Illinois Volunteers, for service in the Spanish-American War. He was assigned to duty in Puerto Rico from July through August 1898.Although he lacked a high school diploma, in October 1898, Sandburg's status as a war veteran qualified him for admission — tuition-free — to Lombard College in his hometown. He returned to Galesburg to study at Lombard until May 1902.Sandburg worked his way through college, and managed to attract the attention of Professor Philip Green Wright, who not only encouraged Sandburg's writing, but paid for publication of his first volume of poetry, a pamphlet titled Reckless Ecstasy, published in 1904. Sandburg attended Lombard for four years, but did not receive a diploma.Beginnings: marriage and careerFollowing college, Sandburg moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he worked as an advertising writer and newspaper reporter. In 1908, he met Lillian Steichen, sister of the photographer Edward Steichen. Charles and Lillian fell in love and were married the same year in Milwaukee.The couple had three children. He later served as secretary to the first socialist mayor of Milwaukee, from 1910 to 1912.During World War I, Sandburg worked for the Newspaper Enterprise Associates as the Stockholm, Sweden, reporter.In 1917, Sandburg later moved to Chicago where, in 1917, he became an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. His poetry first began to attract attention when he was published in the magazine, Poetry. With the printing of his Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), Smoke and Steel (1920), and Slabs of the Sunburnt West (1922), his reputation as a poet was firmly established.Sandburg was a devoted and kind-hearted family man. Two events encouraged him to develop those stories into a book: the sorrow and strife that he witnessed during the First World War, and his eldest daughter's epilepsy, for which there was as yet no seizure-suppressing medication.From the sadness of that time sprang a wonderful series of storybooks for young people, the Rootabaga Stories published in 1922, Rootabaga Pigeons (1923), Rootabaga Country (1929), and Potato Face (1930). Sandburg also wrote two books of poems for children: Early Moon and Wind Song.The Lincoln projectIn the 1920s, Sandburg began some of his most ambitious projects, including his study of Abraham Lincoln. For 30 years he had sought out and collected material, and gradually began writing the six-volume biography of the fallen president.Through the 1930s, Sandburg continued to write about life in America with Mary Lincoln, Wife and Widow published in 1932, The People, Yes in 1936, and the second part of his Lincoln biography, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, published in 1939, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Sandburg was awarded a second Pulitzer Prize in 1950, for his Complete Poems.

In 1952, Sandburg was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters gold medal in biography and history, one of several honors and awards. He settled down to finish writing his memoirs at his 245-acre farm in Flat Rock, North Carolina, purchased in 1945. In 1953, Sandburg published Always the Young Strangers, the autobiographical account of the first 20 years of his life.Sandburg set aside work on the second volume of his autobiography, Ever the Winds of Chance, to collaborate with his brother-in-law, Edward Steichen, on an unprecedented photographic exhibition, The Family of Man, which made its debut in 1955.The work included 503 pictures gathered by Steichen from several countries, to serve as a "mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world." It was a courageous affirmation of the ideal of global community and, for both Sandburg and Steichen, a culmination of the work of their lives.In 1959, Sandburg delivered a Lincoln Day address before a joint session of Congress. Later in the year, he traveled with Steichen on a State Department tour to open The Family of Man exhibition in the Soviet Union.Sandburg resided in Hollywood, California, during much of 1960, working as George Stevens' creative consultant on the film The Greatest Story Ever Told. His last book of poetry, titled Honey and Salt, was published in 1963. The following year, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.A national memoryMuch to Sandburg's delight, more than a half-dozen public schools were named in his honor.Following his death in 1967, Sandburg's home of 22 years in Flat Rock was preserved by the National Park Service as the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Carl Sandburg College is located in Sandburg's birthplace of Galesburg.

See also Wallace Stevens.

Carl Sandburg, Poet and Lincoln Biographer

Corbis Historical / Getty Images

Carl Sandburg was an American poet who became widely known to the public not only for his poetry but for his multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln.

As a literary celebrity, Sandburg was familiar to millions. He appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine in 1938, with the accompanying photo essay focused on his sideline as a collector and singer of American folk songs. After Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, he remarked that he would have been "most happy" had Carl Sandburg gotten the award.

Fast Facts: Carl Sandburg

  • Known For: Poet, literary celebrity, biographer of Abraham Lincoln, and collector and singer of American folk songs
  • Born: January 6, 1878 in Galesburg, Illinois
  • Died: July 22, 1967 in Flat Rock, North Carolina
  • Parents: Clara Mathilda Anderson and August Sandberg
  • Spouse: Lillian Steichen
  • Education: Lombard College
  • Awards: Three Pulitzer prizes, two for poetry (1919 and 1951) and one for history (1940)


Carl Sandburg College is named for Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg, who was born and raised in Galesburg. The son of Swedish immigrant parents, Sandburg was born Jan. 6, 1878, in a small cottage near the rail yards where his father worked. The cottage, on Galesburg's south side, is preserved today as an Illinois historical site.

Sandburg published numerous volumes, including "Chicago Poems" "Cornhuskers" "Rootabaga Stories" "The People, Yes" "Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years" and "Always the Young Strangers." He received two Pulitzer Prizes — in history, for his "Abraham Lincoln: The War Years" (1939), and in poetry, for his "Collected Poems" (1951). The central theme throughout Sandburg's works is his belief in the essential goodness and drive of the common man and woman. His writing is full of optimism for the future of the human race.

Carl Sandburg and his mentor, Professor Philip Green Wright of Lombard College, also located in Galesburg, envisioned the establishment of "a People's Industrial College, where people of all ages would be taught, in addition to literature, philosophy, sociology, science, music, and art, something about industry and farming, such as agriculture, horticulture, bee culture, cabinet-making, metalworking, pottery, architecture, printing and publishing, and bookbinding." (From Margaret Sandburg's unpublished manuscript Biography of Carl Sandburg.) The two men felt that this "People's College" should be located by a river or on a lake.

Though Sandburg died in 1967, the College's ties with its namesake remain strong. In 1979, the late Helga Sandburg, Carl's youngest daughter, was awarded the College's first honorary associate degree. She returned to the campus in 1987, 1994 and in 2006 as the commencement speaker at graduation exercises. Additionally, Helga was a guest of honor at the annual community celebration, the Sandburg Days Festival, from its inception in 1996 to 2005. Both Helga and Penelope Niven, who was Sandburg's biographer, helped to formulate and develop the annual festival. Sadly, both Helga and Penelope passed away in 2014, leaving the College without two of the people most closely associated with its namesake.

The referendum creating what is now Carl Sandburg College was passed by the voters of Knox and Warren counties on Sept. 24, 1966. The first classes were held the same day the following year, Sept. 24, 1967, in a variety of facilities in downtown Galesburg. Since then the College has expanded considerably, both in the scope of course offerings and in territory, in an effort to meet the educational needs of the residents of west-central Illinois.

In 1969, the College occupied the site on South Lake Storey Road in Galesburg on which the permanent Main Campus would be constructed. The permanent facilities were opened in 1976. In the meantime, the College annexed 16 additional high school districts in 1974, which eventually resulted in the establishment of additional facilities to ensure the delivery of services for all residents of what is officially Illinois Community College District 518.

What is now the Branch Campus in Carthage offered its first classes in the winter of 1974. The Main Campus has also undergone major recent renovations to keep Carl Sandburg College on the cutting edge of the technological revolution.

In 2017, the College for the fourth straight year was named National Champion in the Small Colleges Category of the Digital Community Colleges Survey by e.Republic's Center for Digital Education, continuing its reputation as one of the leading community colleges in the country for technology.

The College continues to serve its 3,000-square-mile district and fulfill its mission and vision and remain true to its core values for excellence, collaboration, integrity and respect.

History + Highballs: A Walk in the Woods with Carl Sandburg

Don’t let National Poetry Month end without this virtual evening of prose and storytelling from the world of American poet, biographer, journalist, civil rights activist, and musician Carl Sandburg. Sandburg called Flat Rock (Henderson County) home from 1945 until his death in 1967, living with his family at the 245-acre farm known as Connemara.

The evening will begin with Oursler reading Sandburg’s poem, “I Am the People, the Mob.” Flanagan will then present some history about the Sandburg home—which was known by its original owner, Christopher Memminger, as Rock Hill. Her stories will be followed by Carlisle’s more intimate view into the relationship and lives of the Sandburgs—Carl and his wife, Lilian Steichen “Paula” Sandburg. Oursler will end the evening with a reading of her award-winning poem, “When Dreams Are Overrun.”

Flanagan recently served as president of Historic Flat Rock Inc. and is a passionate proponent of all things Flat Rock. Carlisle enjoyed a career in theatre, film, and television that spanned more than 30 years and included off-Broadway performances, work with Charles Nelson Reilly and the National Shakespeare Company, and tours with shows in schools and theaters across the country, as well as roles in several soap operas and prime-time programs. The Flat Rock resident retired from Western Carolina University in 2013. He wrote The Sandburgs of Connamara, a one-act play comprised of 12 vignettes depicting the Sandburgs from 1945 until 1967 his brother, Michael, created the play’s score and its three songs. Oursler is a Flat Rock poet who won the 2018 Carl Sandburg Student Poetry Contest.

Two of Carl Sandburg's books, Chicago Poems , and The Chicago Race Riots , are available at the Museum Shop! You can order them here.

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on January 6, 1878. His parents, August and Clara Johnson, had emigrated to America from the north of Sweden. After encountering several August Johnsons in his job for the railroad, the Sandburg's father renamed the family. The Sandburgs were very poor Carl left school at the age of thirteen to work odd jobs, from laying bricks to dishwashing, to help support his family. At seventeen, he traveled west to Kansas as a hobo. He then served eight months in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American war. While serving, Sandburg met a student at Lombard College, the small school located in Sandburg's hometown. The young man convinced Sandburg to enroll in Lombard after his return from the war.

Sandburg worked his way through school, where he attracted the attention of Professor Philip Green Wright, who not only encouraged Sandburg's writing, but paid for the publication of his first volume of poetry, a pamphlet called Reckless Ecstasy (1904). While Sandburg attended Lombard for four years, he never received a diploma (he would later receive honorary degrees from Lombard, Knox College, and Northwestern University). After college, Sandburg moved to Milwaukee, where he worked as an advertising writer and a newspaper reporter. While there, he met and married Lillian Steichen (whom he called Paula), sister of the photographer Edward Steichen. A Socialist sympathizer at that point in his life, Sandburg then worked for the Social-Democrat Party in Wisconsin and later acted as secretary to the first Socialist mayor of Milwaukee from 1910 to 1912.

The Sandburgs soon moved to Chicago, where Carl became an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. Harriet Monroe had just started Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, and began publishing Sandburg's poems, encouraging him to continue writing in the free-verse, Whitman-like style he had cultivated in college. Monroe liked the poems' homely speech, which distinguished Sandburg from his predecessors. It was during this period that Sandburg was recognized as a member of the Chicago literary renaissance, which included Ben Hecht, Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, and Edgar Lee Masters. He established his reputation with Chicago Poems (1916), and then Cornhuskers (1918), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1919. Soon after the publication of these volumes Sandburg wrote Smoke and Steel (1920), his first prolonged attempt to find beauty in modern industrialism. With these three volumes, Sandburg became known for his free verse poems that portrayed industrial America.

In the twenties, he started some of his most ambitious projects, including his study of Abraham Lincoln. From childhood, Sandburg loved and admired the legacy of President Lincoln. For thirty years he sought out and collected material, and gradually began the writing of the six-volume definitive biography of the former president. The twenties also saw Sandburg's collections of American folklore, the ballads in The American Songbag and The New American Songbag (1950), and books for children. These later volumes contained pieces collected from brief tours across America which Sandburg took each year, playing his banjo or guitar, singing folk-songs, and reciting poems.

In the 1930s, Sandburg continued his celebration of America with Mary Lincoln, Wife and Widow (1932), The People, Yes (1936), and the second part of his Lincoln biography, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939), for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He received a second Pulitzer Prize for his Complete Poems in 1950. His final volumes of verse were Harvest Poems, 1910-1960 (1960) and Honey and Salt (1963). Carl Sandburg died on July 22, 1967.

Sandburg was inducted to the American Poets' Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York in 2018.


In April 1952, two local school districts, Orland District 221 and Palos District 222 were consolidated into Consolidated High School District 230, for the express purpose of constructing a new high school. [11] This new high school would replace an older high school which had been run by the Orland district at one of its grammar schools, along with rented space around the town for history, English, home economics, and science classes. [11] The new school was designed to serve 450 students. [11] The site of the school was an old corn field, which at the time was surrounded by a forest preserve, a lake, and a golf course. [4]

A school board resolution called for the new school to be named for Carl Sandburg, out of "a desire for historic significance transcending purely local associations of the former school districts". [11] In April 1953, it was announced that the new high school building would be named for the poet, after Sandburg "consented and expressed his pleasure" in a letter to the school board. [11] At least until 1960, Sandburg visited the school every other year. [4]

Ground breaking took place on the US$930,000 structure on May 17, 1953. [12] The school was designed to be a one-story structure with a central gymnasium/auditorium capable of holding 1,200 people. [12] A smaller two story section was to house agriculture, science and business education classes as well as the school's library. [12] The school was built with the specific intent to build additions on to the building as the student population grew. [12] The school opened for classes in September 1954. [13] The school was formally dedicated on October 10, 1954, with the school's namesake in attendance. [14] [15]

The district saw enormous growth, growing from 186 high school students just prior to the construction of the new school, to a projected population of over 900 for the 1956–57 school year. [16] In the summer of 1956, construction began on the first major addition to the school an addition that more than doubled the school's size. [16] The 1956–57 school year also saw students attend in split shifts to alleviate the overcrowding that was already occurring. [16] A second gym, primarily for use by girls, was opened ahead of the rest of the addition in January 1958. [17] [18] The remainder of the new addition was ready in May 1958, expanding the school's capacity to 1,700 students. [18] The original administration offices became the new book store, while the addition itself contained new classrooms and administrative offices, as well as expanded room for the music and industrial technology classes. [18]

No sooner was the new addition occupied, when, in the autumn of 1958, the school board issued a bond referendum to raise over US$1 million to further expand the school, and to purchase property for the site of a future high school. [19] This second addition, finished for the 1960–61 school year, included ten new classrooms, a new library (the old library was subdivided to make new classrooms) and the school's first swimming pool. [20]

The next bond issue came in 1966 this time a US$3.5 million request from the electorate to finance additions at Sandburg and its now sister school, Stagg High School. As a result, Sandburg saw more science laboratories as well as rooms for art, music, and industrial arts training. [21] [22]

The first time Carl Sandburg visited Carl Sandburg High School in his home state of Illinois he was mistaken for a homeless nobody off the street and promptly ordered to leave the premises. School officials quickly learned their mistake. Sandburg, it is said, was gracious and extremely considerate through the whole thing. When Carl Sandburg died in 1967, the school's choir performed at the official memorial tribute, held at the Chicago Public Library. [23]

In 2005, Sandburg had an average composite ACT score of 22.3 and graduated 98.1% of its senior class. The average class size is 19.2. Sandburg has made Adequate Yearly Progress on the Prairie State Achievements Examination, a state test part of the No Child Left Behind Act. [24] Additionally, it has scored a 90.3 on the State Test Performance Index.

Sandburg has been named one of Newsweek's top 1,000 schools on several occasions.

  • 2003, Sandburg was ranked 607 [25]
  • 2005, Sandburg was ranked 744 [26]
  • 2006, Sandburg was ranked 967 [27]

Advanced Placement Edit

The school has a 38% Advanced Placement (AP) participation rate and boasts a 79% pass rate. The average test taker takes 3.8 exams. [28] Students can choose from more than a dozen different AP courses to take during high school. Options include Calculus, Chemistry, U.S. History, Spanish Language, and others.

Activities Edit

Carl Sandburg High School is home to numerous different co-curricular activities. The debate team has won seven state championships [29] and ranked nationally in the Public Forum style of debate. The team has also qualified teams for the prestigious Tournament of Champions hosted annually at the University of Kentucky. The debate team joins hand-in hand with the likewise successful speech team to represent the Carl Sandburg Forensics Team, which ranks, "27 out of more than 3,000 schools nationwide" [30] with the combined skills of two groups. The speech team has won three state championships in the past three years alone. Both the Carl Sandburg High School debate team and speech team are recognized by the National Speech and Debate Association (formerly the National Forensics League). The Model United Nations club hosts an annual conference [31] and competes at conferences across the country.

Carl Sandburg High School currently has five bands, all co-curricular. Directed by Stewart Bailey and Brian Hillhouse, they include the entry level Varsity Band, intermediate Symphonic Band II, and the top Symphonic Band I, in addition to Percussion Band II and Percussion Band I. Sandburg also has a marching band with the typical high-school band brass, woodwind and percussion sections, in addition to color guard, a group that is included with the marching Eagles, but perform with flags, rifles, and sabers.

In early December 2008, the Sandburg Marching Eagles were selected to perform in the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C. and the color guard was also displayed with a performance. [32] The Carl Sandburg Marching Eagles were also chosen to perform during half-time in the 2016 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana as well as the Sugar Bowl New Year's Eve Parade.

Carl Sandburg High School also has three levels of orchestras directed by Dr. Linda Nussbaum. In order from most to least advanced, they are Symphony, Philharmonic, and Concert Orchestra. The department is also home to the co-curricular Quartet Furioso, a group consisting of the four most prestigious players in the Symphony Orchestra.

The school currently has five curricular choirs and one co-curricular a capella group. Directed by Ms. Nicole Denofrio, they include: Freshman Choir, Concert Choir, Cantabile, Bel Canto, and Chorale (formerly Varsity Singers). Chamber Singers (also Accidentals and Eloquence), is an eighteen-member a cappella group that performs at many locations around the community, occasionally alongside the Quartet Furioso.

The District also has a Relay For Life event that donates money towards the American Cancer Society. In 2011, the Relay For Life of District 230 raised nearly $413,000. This placed them first in the state of youth events and boosted the event to the second largest all-youth event in the country. This second in the nation was only behind one large university, Virginia Tech. The Relay has been going on for the past 14 years and was the first event of its kind in the country.

Athletics Edit

Sandburg competes in the Southwest Suburban Conference (SWSC) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), which governs most sports and competitive activities in the state of Illinois. School teams are stylized as the "Eagles".

The school sponsors interscholastic teams for young men and women in basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo. [33] Young men may compete in baseball, football, and wrestling, while young women may compete in badminton, cheerleading, and softball. [33] While not sponsored by the IHSA, the school's athletic department also sponsors a poms team. [33]

Sandburg's cross country and track teams have been extremely successful and was home to world champion athlete Lukas Verzbicas. Verzbicas won the Gatorade Boys' Cross Country Runner of the Year award his junior and senior seasons. In addition, Verzbicas won the Nike and Foot Locker national championship and went on to run at the University of Oregon. [34] Another member of the cross country team, Pat McMahon, was awarded the prestigious $20,000 Foot Locker scholarship in the Spring of 2013. [35]

The following teams have placed in the top four of their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament or meet. [36]

Carl Sandburg - History

Lilian Sandburg was the driving force behind the Sandburg’s move from a home on the dunes of Lake Michigan to Flat Rock, North Carolina. In 1935 she took up the hobby of raising goats for milk. She eventually bred an award-winning herd and became internationally famous among those in the goat breeding business. However, the herd outgrew the Michigan property, sending Lilian on a quest to find a bigger property in a warmer climate. Carl had no objections as long as the place was quite so he could write. On a trip to North Carolina with her daughter Helga, Lilian found the Smyth house for sale and arranged for the purchase. In 1945, the family moved to their new home.

When Carl died and Lilian donated the house and furnishings to create Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, she did not include the goats (which were sold). The National Park Service has resurrected the goat farm for historical purposes, and today the herd consists of three varieties of goats, all descendants of Lilian Sandburg’s goats: Toggenburgs (tan and white), Saanens (white), and Nubians of African descent (long, floppy ears). Baby goats are born each spring, and this is one of the busiest tourist seasons at the park.

Baby goats at the Carl Sandburg Home goat barn

Visitors can roam around the entire area and can pet the goats. In addition to the animals, there are information panels and exhibits throughout the barn.

Exhibit inside the Goat Barn

Visiting time is only limited by your love for goats, but a half hour should be ample time for most people. My daughter, on the other hand, would want to spend all day there.

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967) was a Swedish-American poet, editor, and folk song writer who earned three Pulitzer prizes. Two were for his poetry collections: Cornhuskers in 1918 (which he shared with Margaret Widdemer), and Complete Poems in 1951. In 1940, he won the Pulitzer Prize in History for his three-volume work titled, The War Years , a sequel to his biography about Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (1926). We feature Sandburg in Pulitzer Prize Winners.

Sandburg's wide-ranging appeal for his poems extended into popular folk songs. His anthology, American Songbag (1927) was a huge success, gaining him recognition as perhaps the first urban folk singer. His work inspired Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger , among other populist American folk singers and poets.

Raised in the small town of Galesburg, Illinois, Sandburg's wide range of work and life experiences contributed to his "corny" style of literature, creating accessible and enjoyable poems that appealed to a broad range of readers. According to President Lyndon B. Johnson : "Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America."

Fans of Carl Sandburg may also enjoy the parody poems of favorite fables and fairy tales by Guy Wetmore Carryl.

Carl Sandburg - History

Note: The photo below is from Stan's 91st birthday last year taken by J. Michael Hobbs.

S tanford Shover, former board member of the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association. Stan was passionate about all things Carl Sandburg. Much of the success of the Penny Parades in the last decade can be attributed to the seeds he sowed within the Abingdon community to support the Sandburg State Historic Site. Thank you Stan, for a life well-lived.

Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association

P.O. Box 585 | 313 E. Third St. | Galesburg, Illinois 61402-0585 | 309-342-2361

Dusty Scott (2017) - Acrylic on canvas
(W ith permission of the artist-To see full image click on the image above)

Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association
P.O. Box 585
313 E. Third St.
Galesburg, Illinois 61402-0585

The Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association is a
501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Donations and contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

The Carl Sandburg State Historic Site
OPEN for Visitors

We are pleased to announce that Carl Sandburg State Historic Site has reopened as of Thursday, January 28, 2021. A mask is required for entry. Groups will be limited to 10 people or less at a time.

Hours of operation for the Visitor's Center and Sandburg Family Cottage will be

Thur, Fri, Sun 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Saturdays 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

We look forward to welcoming visitors back!
Questions about the new hours can be directed to Site Services Specialist II Bryan Engelbrecht at Bishop Hill State Historic Site by calling (309) 927-3345 or emailing: [email protected]


The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has revised access to most Illinois State Historic Sites due to concerns related to COVID-19 virus.

March 23rd presentation with Prof. Lawrence Webb
Due to unfortunate circumstances, we have had to cancel the event with Professor Webb. We hope to reschedule in the future — keep an eye out here or at for more information.

Annual Day of Giving (December 1, 2020)

Many thanks to those of you generously donated to CSHSA via Facebook on the

Annual Day of Giving, Dec. 1, 2020

CSHSA received 20 donations totalling $1,010!

CSHSA Previous Fiscal Year Highlights

Thanks to the work this past Spring of the McFall Monument staff the site's Quotation Walk stepping stones have all been cleaned and raised! The project was funded through the generous support of donors to the Robert Ohlbach & the Helen "Tede" Verner Memorial Funds.

Second Sundays Sandburg Songbag Concert Series
Second Sundays of each month
Mar-Nov 2020

Sandburg Songbag Concerts
Cancelled Until Further Notice
Due to COVID-19 Precautions

Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association
Officers & Board of Directors
(as of November 10, 2020)
Pat Kane, president Erin Glasnovich
Don Moffitt, vice-pres. Mike Hobbs
Mike Panther, secretary Joey Lucero
J. Richard Sayre, treas. Nicholas Regiacorte
Andrew Chernin Seamus Reilly
Emily DuGranrut Micaela Terronez
Pamela Fox Gary Wagle
Bryan Englebrecht , ex-officio (Site Services Specialist II)

Annual Penny Parade Fundraiser

(Cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns)

The annual Penny Parade Fundraiser will begin January 6, 2020 (Carl Sandburg's birthday) and end on Thursday, April 30, 2020 (Program starts 1:00am) following Galesburg's annual Sandburg Days Festival, April 24-26, 2020. Pennies collected by our Galesburg area students will be accepted. There will be a program for the students representing their schools at the Sandburg site.

We sincerely appreciate all of the support we receive from our area schools!

Congratulations on an awesome Penny Parade 2019!

A tradition started in 1961, the Association and IDNR held the culmination of the annual Penny Parade Fundraiser or April 25. Students and the community turned in pennies and other donations collected primarily at area schools. Attendees, primarily students, participated in a variety of activities. Students from Silas Ward Elementary School presented “The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It.” Thank you to all who contributed and came to this important fundraiser!

Emcee Mike Panther, Musician Erin Glasnovich, Student presentations from several of the schools representing Hedding (Abingdon), Gale, Galesburg Christian, King, Nielson, Silas Willard, and Steele! Thanks to all!!

Penny Parade 2019 - $1,118.33 (as of 5/14/2019)

Illinois Turns 200: Galesburg Edition

Sunday, November 4 at 2:00 pm

Carl Sandburg State Historic Site

The episode explores an ongoing debate about which window Abraham Lincoln used as an exit from Knox College’s Old Main the role played by Galesburg’s founders in the Underground Railroad the Boxcar People from Mexico who worked on the rails and created a community in the early twentieth century the early career of the inventor of modern advertising Earnest Elmo Caulkins current efforts to revitalize downtown through local businesses and culture the creation of a recent community by Congolese immigrants and, of course, the life and career of poet, historian, and journalist Carl Sandburg.

Programs are free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Featuring 8-year old Nakshatra Neeraja reciting "I Am the People"

Prior to the June 30, 2016 deadline the CSHSA raised just over $12,000 toward an endowment to support the Historic Site and the GCF has matched our efforts with the $10,000 matching grant.

This is our initial effort to start an endowment and we hope to see it grow to a point where the interest from the endowment will be significant enough to enrich the Carl Sandburg Historic Site in the future.

T he Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association
P.O. Box 585
Galesburg, IL 61402-0585

To send a donation online use the following Donate button:

Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association

P.O. Box 585
313 E. Third St.
Galesburg, Illinois 61402-0585

The Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association is a
501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Donations and contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

We have transferred a recently-acquired rare 16mm film of a 1953 interview with Carl Sandburg to DVD and are making copies available to the public. It's a perfect introduction to Carl Sandburg, his admiration for Abraham Lincoln, and what he means to America.

If you come by car or have an FM radio with you, tune to 88.7 and listen to a brief presentation about Carl Sandburg and the Historic Site. Three audio segments rotate: a short biography narrated by Rick Heath a tribute to Carl Sandburg by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Sandburg's Grammy Award-winning narration of Aaron Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait." Enjoy them all.


Slave spirituals through the blues, along with the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane .

May 17, 2019

Briar Road
This multi-talented group performs a unique blend of contemporary folk, blues, jazz and original music.

Hailing from Peoria, the group plays a wide variety of Irish & Celtic music.

We are grateful to Tom Foley who is coordinating the Songbag Concert Series this year for the Association.

A donation of $5.00 per person is suggested as the door (or gate) entry fee. These door receipts go to the Songbag Concert performers to supplement a base amount paid by the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association. If you enjoy the concert, please be generous in support of our performers.

Songbag Concert Series performers and refreshment costs are underwritten by the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association and its members at a cost of approximately $2,500 per year. If you would like to support the Songbag Concert Series, become a member of the Association, and/or feel free to make a donation to the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association, PO Box 585, Galesburg, IL 61402-0585.

The home where poet and author Carl Sandburg was born and its adjacent grounds containing a park and garden are located at 331 East Third Street on the south side of Galesburg, Illinois. Click here for a map and access to directions.

Next door is the Visitor's Center. It contains a museum, a museum shop, a small theater where several informative videos about Carl Sandburg are shown and a renovated "barn" which is actually a small theatre with a few more exhibits and where live performances are often held. The museum contains hundreds of artifacts and modern colorful displays appropriate for all ages.

The Carl Sandburg Historic Site is supported by the State of Illinois and the nonprofit Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association. The Association sponsors and participates in many activities throughout the year to honor and remember Carl Sandburg. These include the "Penny Parade" which brings schoolchildren to the site to have fun while learning about Galesburg's most famous son. The Association is a participating sponsor of the Sandburg Days Festival For The Mind held each April. It hosts the Songbag Concert Series of folk music concerts (and sometimes other genres) held inside the Visitor's Center "Barn" theatre in the fall, winter and spring. Details of upcoming concerts are also available on the CSHSA Website. The Association meets at 7pm on the second Tuesday of each month in the Visitors' Center. Guests and interested visitors are always welcome.

The Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association planned and funded a perennial garden and quotation walk in the back yard. The plantings are appropriate to Sandburg's era and surround Remembrance Rock, where the ashes of Carl Sandburg, his wife, Lilian, and two daughters, Margaret and Janet, are buried.

About Sandburg Village

Nestled quietly in the Old Town neighborhood, the nine condominium high-rises and more than 60 townhouses are home to over 8,000 residents. Located at the center of one of the most exciting and historic areas in the city nearby attractions include the “Magnificent Mile” shopping district, North Avenue Beach (known for its volleyball games), and the beautiful Lincoln Park. Transportation across Chicago (and beyond) is made easy by a number of bus lines, the CTA Red Line, and Lake Shore Drive.

Sandburg Village Living

Carl Sandburg Village offers a quiet hideaway in one of the most popular and exciting neighborhoods in the City.

The low brick wall surrounding the Village conceals its world-class amenities. What looks from the outside like a dense development is actually majority green and public space, including landscaped concourses and a village center. Amenities include two large outdoor swimming pool complexes (complete with attendants, locker rooms, and cabanas), four tennis courts, and a children’s play lot.

Completing the “village within a city” experience are an on-site dry-cleaners, doctor and dentist’s offices, hair salon, and child care facilities. The heated underground garages are essential in an otherwise difficult to park area.

Available units include two sizes of studios, generous-sized one-bedrooms, two bedrooms, and a few units with combined floor plans.

Sandburg Village History

Sandburg Village was built in the early 1960s as an urban renewal project. The goal for the development was to revitalize the Old Town neighborhood, which was perceived to be threatened by encroaching slums. The project was a runaway success. Today, Old Town is one of the most popular and prosperous neighborhoods in Chicago. A short walk around and you’ll be sure to see picturesque streets, well-maintained 19th-century mansions, and fine restaurants.

The development was named after prominent poet and writer Carl Sandburg, who blessed the project. The individual buildings were also named after esteemed American writers, including Emily Dickinson and William Faulkner.

The project was, at the time, one of the largest ever attempted. Its sheer scale and speed of completion drew experts in construction and housing from across the world. At its peak, the effort included 950 workers from 30 different trades with concrete trucks coming once per hour and pouring an average of 550 yards of concrete every day. In 1979, all rental units were converted to condos.


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