Sandburg's Hometown

June 8, 2015

Carl Sandburg & Marilyn Monroe - New York City, 1961

Carl Sandburg & Marilyn Monroe - New York City, 1961


by Barbara Schock

Many years ago, I heard a woman say “If my husband stops looking at women, I will know he has died.” Not all women are so charitable toward their mates. Carl Sandburg was an observer of women from a young age.

In his autobiography, Always the Young Strangers, he describes quite a number of girls and women whom he knew while growing up in Galesburg. In the eighth grade he kept his head behind his geography book. He enjoyed taking peeks at Ann and Blanche Colville. They were daughters of Robert Colville, Master Mechanic in the CB&Q yard. Ann had bright red hair and freckles. Blanche had black hair and eyes with pale white skin. Mayor Forrest F. Cook's daughter, Bessie, was a brunette in the same class. Sandburg remembered that she had been elected queen of something or other and had ridden on a float in a parade a few years later.

While delivering milk near St. Patrick's Church in the southwest part of Galesburg, Sandburg remembered meeting Theresa Anawalt. She was walking to her job on Main Street. They crossed paths about eight o'clock in the morning dozens of times but never spoke a greeting. He admired her beautiful but sad face. He never forgot it. In writing about her in his autobiography, he wanted to leave a record that he remembered her sixty years later.

Miss Nellie Stowell taught the teenage boys' Sunday School class at the City Mission. The boys joined the class just to look at her face with those long eyelashes. She was very prim and religious. She didn't allow any slang words in her class. The boys tried to be on their best behavior for her sake.

When the Monarch Club held its monthly dances, all the girls were dressed in their prettiest clothes. The boys conducted themselves as gentlemen and treated the girls in a chivalrous manner. The boys enjoyed dancing very much. Being able to hold a girl in one's arms while dancing was especially appreciated.

More than one couple sought a place where they could be together without being seen. The turntable of the Narrow Gauge Railroad was dark at night, but there was privacy under the beams. Sometimes there was gossip about who was doing what under the turntable and the parents stepped in to end any relationships.

There were other kinds of females in Galesburg too. Stella Garrity and Isa Magee were businesswomen. They operated brothels. Stella's business was located on Berrien Street, not far from the Sandburg home.

Isa Magee was a show-off. She dressed in a low-cut gown and a wide-brimmed hat on Sunday afternoons. Then, she would ride around town in a surrey with the fringe on the top. She would wave a silk handkerchief to people she knew (at least the men who were willing to acknowledge her wave).

Later in life Sandburg met Marilyn Monroe. He was able to spend an afternoon dancing and exercising with her. What man wouldn't appreciate that opportunity?

Carl Sandburg was thirty years old when he married. It seems to have been love at first sight when he met Lilian Anna Maria Elizabeth Steichen. At the marriage ceremony they promised to love and honor each other, but not to obey. It was a sign to the rest of the world that they were united.

Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
June 8, 2015 Girls
June 1, 2015 Old First Church - Part II
May 25, 2015 Old First Church - Part I
May 18, 2015 Marbles
May 11, 2015 Pawnee County, Kansas
May 4, 2015 Detective Stories and the Real Thing
April 27, 2015 Professor Isaac A. Parker
April 20, 2015 Celluloid Collars
April 13, 2015 Asparagus
April 6, 2015  Mayor John C. Stewart 
March 30, 2015 Basket Ball
March 23, 2015 The Courthouse of Knox County, IL
March 16, 2015

“Trifles make perfection...”

March 9, 2015 Uncle Tom's Cabin
March 2, 2015 Martha Sandburg Goldstone
February 23, 2015 Devotion
February 16, 2015  Gumbiner's Pawn Shop 
February 9, 2015 White Bread
February 2, 2015 The Monarch Club
January 26, 2015 The Silver Dollar
January 19, 2015 The Fulton County Narrow Gauge Railway
January 12, 2015 The Four Corners
December 22, 2014 Swedish Christmas
December 8, 2014 Christmas 1878
December 1, 2014 Bunker Boots & Shoes
November 24, 2014 Galesburg, Illinois
November 17, 2014 It was Buffalo Bill's Day
November 10, 2014 The Election of 1896 (A follow-up story)
November 3, 2014 The Election of 1896 (continued)
October 27, 2014 The Election of 1896
October  24, 2014 The Rissywarn
October 20, 2014 The Parlor Stove
October 13, 2014 Ashes to Ashes
October 6, 2014 Jesse James
Sept. 29, 2014 Lester T. Stone, Public Servant
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 4  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