Sandburg, Carl (1878-1967) | Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Internationally renowned poet and biographer Carl August Sandburg was born Jan. 6, 1878, the second of seven children to Swedish immigrants August and Clara Anderson Sandburg in Galesburg, Illinois.
After finishing eighth grade, he worked as a milkman, ice harvester, bricklayer, wheat thresher, shoe shiner, soldier, and fireman over a decade. He also traveled as a hobo. His experiences working and traveling greatly influenced his writing and political views.
Sandburg attended Lombard College starting in 1898, and joined its Poor Writers' Club, founded by professor Phillip Green Wright, who encouraged young Sandburg and printed Sandburg's first book of verse, In Reckless Ecstasy in 1904, as well as two additional volumes in 1907 (Incidentals) and 1908 (The Plaint of a Rose).
Sandburg met Lilian Ana "Paula" Steichen at the Wisconsin Social Democratic party headquarters, where he worked as an organizer, and married her in 1908. After marriage, he returned to Illinois and took up journalism.
His poetry was published in 1914 in Poetry Magazine, and he went on to publish more poetry, along with Rootabaga Stories, a book of fanciful children's tales, in 1922. That book prompted Sandburg's publisher to suggest a biography of Lincoln for children. Instead, Sandburg's ensuing three years of research led to a two-volume biography for adults, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, his first financial success. He next wrote four additional volumes, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. Sandburg continued as a prolific writer, publishing more poetry, a novel, Remembrance Rock, a second volume of folk songs, and an autobiography, Always the Young Strangers. His Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Considered by many as the "Poet of the People," President Lyndon B. Johnson called him "The Voice of America."
Sandburg died July 22, 1967 at his North Carolina home. He was survived by three daughters, Margaret (b. 3 Jun 1911), Janet (b. 27 Jun 1916), and Helga (b. Nov 1918), and preceded in death by Madeline (b. and d. Nov 1913.)
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http://www.nps.gov/archive/carl/contents.htm, accessed 10/17/06.
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