Carl Sandburg


by Terry Hogan


Just about everyone who has lived in Galesburg for a few years knows the name and probably knows that he was born in Galesburg.  Probably you know he was a poet and wrote a little ditty about fog and cat’s feet.  You may, unfortunately, think he shopped at the Sandburg Mall, attended Sandburg Jr. College and lived on Sandburg Drive.  I hope not, but it is possible.


With another year passing and Sandburg Days approaching once again, I thought it might be interesting to cheat a bit on the Backtracking column range of articles to provide a “pop quiz” on Sandburg.  The answers (mine anyway) are at the end of the column, but no peeking.  Like any good teacher, my answers are correct, even if they’re wrong.


Please take out a clean white sheet of paper; write your name legibly on the upper right corner, followed by today’s date.   Place numbers 1 through 20, in sequence along the left margin of the paper.  Please remove all books, papers, and purses from the top of your desk.  You will have 15 minutes to complete the exam (Make you a little nervous?).


  1. Carl Sandburg’s autobiography of growing up in Galesburg is entitled ……………
  2. Carl Sandburg is buried in what city? (Chicago, Washington, D.C., Galesburg)
  3. Carl Sandburg attended what college? (Lombard, Knox, Hedding, Monmouth)
  4. Carl Sandburg received which of the following awards? (Pulitzer, Noble Peace, Order of Red Star, GAR)
  5. Carl Sandburg’s only novel was entitled….
  6. Helga Sandburg is Carl’s (daughter, niece, granddaughter, “trophy wife”)
  7. Carl Sandburg was a soldier during (WWI, WWII, Spanish American, Civil)
  8. Carl Sandburg is probably best known for writing a biography about whom?
  9. Carl Sandburg wrote an autobiography about whom? 
  10. Carl Sandburg was a newspaper reporter in Chicago (True or False).
  11. Carl Sandburg was taken to jail by the Galesburg police when he was a boy (True or False).
  12. Carl Sandburg had a sister who taught school at Bishop Hill (True or False).
  13. Carl Sandburg often played a banjo and sang old songs as part of his public performance (True or False).
  14. Carl Sandburg’s wife was a noted breeder of (horses, pigs, goats, killer bees).
  15. Carl Sandburg’s father worked as a (greenhouse worker, a teacher, a blacksmith, a farmer)?    
  16. Despite being born in Galesburg, once Carl Sandburg left and became successful, he never returned (True or False).
  17. Carl Sandburg paid for the purchase of his birthplace and its restoration (True or False).
  18.  Sandburg once worked for the Galesburg Fire Department (True or False).
  19. Carl Sandburg’s father’s name wasn’t Sandburg when he left Sweden (True or False).
  20.  Carl Sandburg is buried under (a large rock from Illinois; a weeping willow; a statue of Lincoln; Old Main, Knox College).



  1. Always the Young Strangers
  2. Galesburg
  3. Lombard
  4. Pulitzer
  5. Remembrance Rock
  6. Daughter
  7. Spanish American
  8. Lincoln
  9. Himself (just seeing if you’re paying attention)
  10. True
  11. True, for swimming in a brickyard pond
  12. True
  13. False, guitar
  14. goats
  15. CB&Q blacksmith (helper)
  16. False
  17. False
  18. True
  19. True, he “took the name” after arriving in the US (commonly done by Swedes)
  20. Large Rock (“Remembrance Rock”) at his birthplace in Galesburg 


Score your own results.  Each question is worth 5 points.  If you score less than 90 you are required to read Backtracking, without failure, for the next 12 months. If you score 90 or greater, you can feel discretely smug for the rest of the day.