Sandburg's Hometown

September 22, 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt visits troops on her tour of the South Pacific, Aug-Sept 1943
Eleanor Roosevelt visits troops on her tour of the South Pacific, Aug-Sept 1943

It's Who You Know

by Barbara Schock

Beginning September 14th and continuing through the week many have watched the public television series: “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” by Ken Burns. The program on September 19th described Eleanor Roosevelt's frequent visits to military installations here and abroad during World War II.

In the Summer, 2002 issue of Inklings and Idlings, Dr. Richard Sandburg, a nephew of Carl Sandburg, who grew up in Galesburg, contributed an article. He wrote of his meeting Mrs. Roosevelt on Christmas Island. It was a refueling station for American forces near the equator south of Hawaii. Having been trained as a podiatrist, he was assigned to the hospital where he performed blood tests in the laboratory. He was also given the task of driving to a farm to test fresh milk for e.coli bacteria before it was served to patients and officers. Since he knew how to type, he filled in all the reports generated in the laboratory.

He had been a private for over a year—until Eleanor Roosevelt visited the island. This is how he remembered the incident.

She was very gracious, warmly shook hands with everyone she met, and when we were introduced, she asked, 'Sandburg? Would you be related to Carl?'

After receiving an affirmative reply, she gave me a second handshake, and said her husband had invited Carl to the White House on several occasions for counseling and friendly visits.

From that point on, my stock soared, our detachment officers usually spoke first, before receiving my salute, and shortly afterward, I was promoted to a T/5 rating, comparable to a corporal.

Some time later, I was invited by the detachment commander for lunch at the officers' quarters. After several months of eating from a steel helmet, it was unique to be served at a table with a linen tablecloth and napkins. Our main course was rabbit, which we raised in the laboratory, and the liquid refreshment was either coffee or cool, tasty milk.

Eleanor Roosevelt was frequently chided by the media for her unattractive appearance, and protruding teeth. She was not beautiful, but had a warm friendly charm. I always had the dismal feeling that if it hadn't been for her, I would have remained a private for the duration.

After the war, dedicated volunteers, led by Adda George and Juanite Bednar, were struggling to refurbish the rickety Carl Sandburg Birthplace.

The project was financed by interested Sandburg admirers, and, on one of my visits to the home, I observed a roster of names, listed alphabetically, of those who had made contributions. I was very pleased to see my name immediately below that of Eleanor Roosevelt.”

Additional Resource: Eleanor Roosevelt's Tour of the South Pacific, Aug-Sept 1943. (YouTube Video)


Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
Sept. 22, 2014 It's Who You Know
Sept 15, 2014 Mother of the Illinois Flag
Sept 8, 2014 The Scissors Grinder
Sept 1, 2014 Baseball
August 25, 2014 Howard K. Knowles, Capitalist
August 18, 2014  Alcoholic Beverages
August 11, 2014 Soda Water
August 4, 2014 Sweet Corn
July 28, 2014 Marching Through Georgia
July 21, 2014 The Knox County Fair
July 14, 2014 The Panic of 1893
July 7, 2014 The Rev. T. N. Hasselquist
June 30, 2014 The Knox County Courthouse
June 23, 2014 The Family Photograph Album
June 16, 2014 Parades
June 9, 2014 Lingonberries
June 2, 2014 Where We Live
May 26, 2014 Old Main
May 19, 2014 Rhythms of the Railroad
May 12, 2014 Spring Tonic
May 5, 2014 The Milkmen
April 28, 2014 Gray's "Elegy..."
April 21, 2014 Off to War
April 14, 2014 Swedish Easter
April 7, 2014 A Father's Face
March 31, 2014 Secret Societies
March 24, 2014 George A. Murdock, Merchant
March 10, 2014 Trade Cards
March 3, 2014 The Demorest Medal
February 24, 2014 Rip Van Winkle
February 17, 2014 Cabbage Soup
February 10, 2014 Lincoln's Birthday
February 3, 2014  The Colonel
January 27, 2014 The Lincoln Penny - A Little History
January 20, 2014 Walking to Work
January 13, 2014  A Small Abode
January 6, 2014 Birth of a Poet
December 30, 2013 Christmas 1880
December 23, 2013 Swedish Christmas
December 16, 2013 The Reporter Sees Santa
December 9, 2013 The Coming of Christmas
December 2, 2013 The Fire Boys Talk
November 25, 2013 Galesburg Will Feast on Turkeys and Cranberries - Thanksgiving 1893
November 18, 2013  Mary Sandburg Johnson
November 11, 2013 Carl Sandburg's Bicycle
November 4, 2013  Lace Curtains 
October 28, 2013 The Front Room
October 21, 2013 A Warm Breakfast
October 14, 2013 Marion D. Shutter
October 7, 2013 Cigars and Consumption
September 30, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke & August Sandburg
September 16, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke, Mayor
September 9, 2013 Dusty Streets
September 2, 2013 Typhoid Fever
August 26, 2013 Coffee and Water
August 19, 2013 A Horse! A Horse!
August 12, 2013 Gaddial Scott
August 5, 2013 The Racetrack
July 29, 2013 John Peter Algeld - Part II
July 22, 2013 John Peter Altgeld - Part I
July 15, 2013 Tramps, Tramps, Tramps
July 8, 2013 Lady Liberty
July 1, 2013 Galesburg's Fourth
June 24, 2013 John H. Finley
June 17, 2013 The World's Columbian Exhibition
June 10, 2013 Fruit Short-Cake
June 3, 2013 Horatio Alger, Author
May 27, 2013 Memorial Day, 1887
May 20, 2013 Professor Jon W. Grubb
May 13, 2013 Beginnings of Lombard University
May 6, 2013 Young Sandburg’s View of Lombard College
April 29, 2013 Thinking
April 22, 2013 Robert Colville, Master Mechanic
April 15, 2013 The Galesburg Opera House
April 8, 2013 Grocery Stores and Sample Rooms
April 1, 2013  A Hearty  Breakfast 
March 25, 2013  The Lost Wallpaper Legend 
March 18, 2013 Martin G. Sandburg
March 4, 2013 The Edison Talking Machine
February 25, 2013 Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran
February 18, 2013 Remember the Maine...
February 11, 2013 Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 Curiosity