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Carl Sandburg

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Time magazine, December 4, 1939

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878July 22, 1967), American poet, historian, novelist, and folklorist. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois by Swedish parents and died in Flat Rock, North Carolina.

H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat." He was a successful journalist, poet, historian and autobiographer. During the course of his career, Sandburg won three Pulitzer Prizes, one for history and two for poetry.

Much of his poetry focused on Chicago, Illinois, such as "Chicago", where he spent time as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News. His most famous description of the city is as "Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler,/Stormy, Husky, Brawling, City of the Big Shoulders."

During the Spanish-American War, Sandburg enlisted in the 6th Illinois Infantry. Following a brief (two week) career as a student at West Point with Douglas MacArthur, Sandburg chose to attend Lombard College (now Knox College). Sandburg left college without a degree in 1902 and got married to Lillian Steichen in 1908. From 1912 to 1928, he lived in Chicago and nearby Evanston. During this time he began work on his series of biographies on Abraham Lincoln, which would eventually earn him his Pulitzer Prize in history (for Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 1940).

He is also beloved by generations of children for his Rutabaga Stories, a series of whimsical, sometimes melancholy stories he originally created for his own two daughters. The Rutabaga stories were born of Sandburg's desire for "American fairy tales" to match American childhood. He felt that the European stories involving royalty and knights were inappropriate, and so populated his stories with skyscrapers, trains, and corn fairies.

His home of 22 years in Flat Rock, North Carolina is preserved by the National Park Service as a national historic site. Carl Sandburg College is located in Sandburg's birthplace of Galesburg, Illinois.

Some works by Sandburg

  • In Reckless Ecstasy (1904) (poetry)
  • Chicago Poems (1916) (poetry)
  • Cornhuskers (1918) (poetry)
  • Smoke and Steel (1920) (poetry)
  • Rootabaga Stories (1920) (children's stories)
  • Slabs of the Sunburnt West (1922) (poetry)
  • More Rootabaga Stories (1923) (children's stories)
  • Selected Poems (1926) (poetry)
  • Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (1926) (history)
  • The American Songbag (1927) (folk songs)
  • Good Morning, America (1928) (poetry)
  • Steichen the Photographer (1929) (history)
  • Mary Lincoln: Wife and Widow (1932) (history)
  • The People, Yes (1936) (poetry)
  • Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939) (history)
  • The New American Songbag (1950) (folk songs)
  • Complete Poems (1950) (poetry)
  • Harvest Poems (1950) (poetry)
  • Honey and Salt (1963) (poetry)

External links

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