Albion Interactive History / People / Carl Sandburg

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People / Starr Commonwealth

Carl Sandburg
Famous Author


Twelve years later, in October 1943, Starr brought Carl Sandburg to the Albion campus. The poet/historian was then living in Honart, Michigan, where he was laboring over his monumental study of AbrahamLincoln and the Civil War. Perhaps as a consequence, Sandburg left his guitar at home andsang no ballads from An American Songbag. Instead, as one reporter commented, “He delivered a lecture-recital-commentary upon such a variety of subjects that virtually every phase of his entire challenging philosophy of life was set forth.”

Perhaps Sandburg the social critic gave way later to the poet, for he was the guest of honor at a dinner that evening at Gladsome Cottage. Afterwards a scattering of older boys stopped by to meet their guest in person. One of them reported afterward, “Mr. Sandburg was a real fun guy. He even borrowed Maurie’s guitar andsang some songs for us.”

Starr did glean one story to tell about the Sandburg visit. After his friends and the boys hadleft, he sent his guest off to bed while he “picked up the front room.” Suddenly the bedroom door opened andSandburg shuffled out in worn scuffs to double-check the time of his departure. Starr took one glance at him and nearly burst into laughter. Over one eye hung a lock of hair, anchored in place by a strip of masking tape. Obviously Sandburg was training thatstubborn cowlick which he had made his trademark. “I looked at him and never saw that tape,” Starr recounted later; “and I didn’t mention the incident, even to the boys, until months after he left. Eventually though, I just had to share it.”

Source: Keith Fennimore. Faith Made Visible: The History of Floyd Starr and His School. Albion, Michigan: Starr Commonwealth. 1988.