Sample G34 from Harry Golden, Carl Sandburg. New York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1961. Pp. 82-87. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,001 words 554 (27.7%) quotes 4 symbolsG34

Copyright 1961. Used by permission of The World Publishing Company.

Harry Golden, Carl Sandburg. New York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1961. Pp. 82-87.

Typographical Error (within quotation): guerilla [1810]

Header auto-generated for TEI version

With each song he gave verbal footnotes . The songs Sandburg sang often reminded listeners of songs of a kindred character they knew entirely or in fragments . Often these listeners would refer Sandburg to persons who had similar ballads or ditties . In due time Sandburg was a walking thesaurus of American folk music .

After he had finished the first two volumes of his Lincoln , Sandburg went to work assembling a book of songs out of hobo and childhood days and from the memory of songs others had taught him . He rummaged , found composers and arrangers , collaborated on the main design and outline of harmonization with musicians , ballad singers , and musicologists .

The result was a collection of 280 songs , ballads , ditties , brought together from all regions of America , more than one hundred never before published : The American Songbag . Each song or ditty was prefaced by an author's note which indicated the origin and meaning of the song as well as special interest the song had , musical arrangement , and most of the chorus and verses .

The book , published in 1927 , has been selling steadily ever since . As Sandburg said at the time : `` It is as ancient as the medieval European ballads brought to the Appalachian Mountains , it is as modern as skyscrapers , the Volstead Act , and the latest oil well gusher '' .

Schopenhauer never learned Sandburg is in constant demand as an entertainer . Two things contribute to his popularity . First , Carl respects his audience and prepares his speeches carefully . Even when he is called upon for impromptu remarks , he has notes written on the back of handy envelopes . He has his own system of shorthand , devised by abbreviations : `` humility '' will be `` humly '' , `` with '' will be `` w '' , and `` that '' will be `` tt '' .

The second reason for his popularity is his complete spontaneity with the guitar . It is a mistake , however , to imagine that Sandburg uses the guitar as a prop . He is no dextrous-fingered college boy but rather a dedicated , humble , and bashful apostle of this instrument . At age seventy-four , he became what he shyly terms a `` pupil '' of Andres Segovia , the great guitarist of the Western world .

It is not easy to become Segovia's pupil . One needs high talent . Segovia has written about Carl :

`` His fingers labor heavily on the strings and he asked for my help in disciplining them . I found that this precocious , grown-up boy of 74 deserved to be taught . There has long existed a brotherly affection between us , thus I accepted him as my pupil . Just as in the case of every prodigy child , we must watch for the efficacy of my teaching to show up in the future -- if he should master all the strenuous exercises I inflicted on him .

To play the guitar as he aspires will devour his three-fold energy as a historian , a poet and a singer . One cause of Schopenhauer's pessimism was the fact that he failed to learn the guitar . I am certain that Carl Sandburg will not fall into the same sad philosophy . The heart of this great poet constantly bubbles forth a generous joy of life -- with or without the guitar '' .

The public's identification of Carl Sandburg and the guitar is no happenstance . Nor does Carl reject this identity .

He is proud of having Segovia for a friend and dedicated a poem to him titled `` The Guitar '' .

Carl says it is the greatest poem ever written to the guitar because he has never heard of any other poem to that subtle instrument . `` A portable companion always ready to go where you go -- a small friend weighing less than a freshborn infant -- to be shared with few or many -- just two of you in sweet meditation '' .

The New York Herald Tribune's photographer , Ira Rosenberg , tells an anecdote about the time he wanted to take a picture of Carl playing a guitar . Carl hadn't brought his along . Mr. Rosenberg suggested that they go out and find one .

`` Preferably '' , said Carl , `` one battered and worn , such as might be found in a pawnshop '' .

They went to the pawnshop of Joseph Miller of 1162 Sixth Avenue .

`` Mr. Miller was in the shop '' , the Herald Tribune story related , `` but was reluctant to have anybody's picture taken inside , because his business was too ' confidential ' for pictures .

`` But after introductions he asked : ' Carl Sandburg ? ? Well you can pose inside .

`` He wanted Mr. Sandburg to pose with one of the guitars he had displayed behind glass in the center of his shop , but the poet eyed this somewhat distastefully . ' Kalamazoo guitars ' , he said , ' used by radio hillbilly singers .

`` He chose one from Mr. Miller's window , a plain guitar with no fancy polish . While the picture was taken , Mr. Miller's disposition to be generous to Mr. Sandburg increased to the point where he advised , ' I won't even charge you the one dollar rental fee ' '' .

A knowledgeable celebrity When someone in the audience rose and asked how does it feel to be a celebrity , Carl said , `` A celebrity is a fellow who eats celery with celerity '' .

This has always been Carl's attitude . Lloyd Lewis wrote that when he first knew Carl in 1916 , Sandburg was making $27.50 a week writing features for the Day Book and eating sparse luncheons in one-arm restaurants . He walked home at night for two miles beyond the end of a suburban trolley .

When fame came it changed Sandburg only slightly . Lewis remembered another newspaperman asking , `` Carl , have your ideas changed any since you got all these comforts '' ? ?

Carl thought the question over slowly and answered : `` I know a starving man who is fed never remembers all the pangs of his starvation , I know that '' .

That was all he said , Lewis reports . That was all he had to say .

In answer to a New York Times query on what is fame ( `` Thoughts On Fame '' , October 23 , 1960 ) , Carl said : `` Fame is a figment of a pigment . It comes and goes . It changes with every generation . There never were two fames alike . One fame is precious and luminous ; ; another is a bubble of a bauble '' .

`` Ah , did you once see Shelley plain '' ? ? The impression you get from Carl Sandburg's home is one of laughter and happiness ; ; and the laughter and the happiness are even more pronounced when no company is present .

Carl has been married to Paula for fifty-three years , and he has not made a single major decision without careful consideration and thorough discussion with his wife . Through all these years , Mrs. Sandburg has pointedly avoided the limelight . She has shared her husband's greatness , but only within the confines of their home ; ; it is a dedication which began the moment she met Carl .

Mrs. Sandburg received a Phi Beta Kappa key from the University of Chicago and she was busy writing and teaching when she met Sandburg . `` You are the ' Peoples' Poet ' '' was her appraisal in 1908 , and she stopped teaching and writing to devote herself to the fulfillment of her husband's career .

She has rarely been photographed with him and , except for Carl's seventy-fifth anniversary celebration in Chicago in 1953 , she has not attended the dozens of banquets , functions , public appearances , and dinners honoring him -- all of this upon her insistence . Even now I will not intrude upon her except to state a few bare facts .

The only way to describe Paula Sandburg is to say she is beautiful in a Grecian sense . Her clothes , her hair , everything about her is both graceful and simple . She has small , broad , capable hands and an enormous energy .

She is not only a trained mathematician and Classicist , but a good architect . She designed and supervised the building of the Harbert , Michigan , house , most of which was constructed by one local carpenter who carried the heavy beams singly upon his shoulder . As the Sandburg goat herd increased , she also designed the barn alterations to accommodate them . When erosion threatened the foundation of their home in Harbert , Paula Sandburg planted grapevines and arranged the snow fences which helped hold the sands away .

She was born Lilian Steichen , her parents immigrants from Luxemburg . Her mother called her Paus'l , a Luxemburg endearment meaning `` pussycat '' . Some of the children of the family could not pronounce this name and called her Paula , a soubriquet Carl liked so much she has been Paula ever since .

But neither was Lilian her baptismal name . Her parents , pious Roman Catholics , christened her Mary Anne Elizabeth Magdalene Steichen . `` My mother read a book right after I was born and there was a Lilian in the book she loved and I became Lilian -- and eventually I became Paula '' .

Lilian Steichen was an exceptional student . This family of Luxemburg immigrants , in fact , produced two exceptional children . Paula's older brother is Edward Steichen , a talented artist and , for the past half-century , one of the world's eminent photographers . ( Two years ago the photography editor of Vogue Magazine titled his article about Steichen , `` The World's Greatest Photographer '' .

By the time Lilian had been graduated from public school , her parents were doing quite well . Her mother was a good manager and established a millinery business in Milwaukee . But her father was not enthusiastic about sending young Paula to high school . `` This is no place for a young girl '' , he said . The parents compromised , however , on a convent school and Paula went to Ursuline Academy in London , Ontario .

She was pious , too , once kneeling through the night from Holy Thursday to Good Friday , despite the protest of the nuns that this was too much for a young girl . She knelt out of reverence for having read the Meditations of St. Augustine .

She read everything else she could get her hands on , including an article ( she thinks it was in the Atlantic Monthly ) by Mark Twain on `` White Slavery '' . Paula was saddened about what was happening to little girls and vowed to kneel no more in Chapel . She had come to a decision . If there was ever a thought in her mind she might devote her life to religion , it was now dispelled . `` I felt that I must devote myself to the ' outside ' world '' .

She passed the entrance examinations to the University of Illinois , but during the year at Urbana felt more important events transpired at the University of Chicago .

`` And besides , Thorstein Veblen was one of the Chicago professors '' .

At the University of Chicago she studied Whitman and Shelley , and became a Socialist . Socialist leaders in Milwaukee recognized her worth , not only because of her dedication but because of her fluency in German , French , and Luxemburg . She once gave a German recitation before a convention of German-language teachers in Milwaukee .

Carl and Paula met in Milwaukee in 1907 during Paula's Christmas holiday visit to her parents . Carl was still Charles A. Sandburg . He `` legitimized '' Paula for Lilian Steichen , and it was Paula who insisted on Carl for Charles .

Victor Berger , the panjandrum of Wisconsin Socialism and member of Congress , had asked Paula Steichen to translate some of his German editorials into English . Carl , who was stationed in Appleton , Wisconsin , organizing for the Social Democrats , was in Berger's office and made it his business to escort Paula to the streetcar . She left the next day for her teaching job at Princeton , Illinois . ( After graduation from the University of Chicago , Paula taught for two years in the normal school at Valley City , North Dakota , then two years at Princeton ( Illinois ) Township High School . ) By the time the streetcar pulled away , he had fallen in love with Paula .

A letter awaited her at Princeton . Paula says that even though Carl's letters usually began , `` Dear Miss Steichen '' , there was an understanding from the beginning that they would become husband and wife .

Paula generously lent me one of Carl's love letters , dated February 21 , 1908 , Hotel Athearn , Oshkosh , Wisconsin :

`` Dear Miss Steichen : It is a very good letter you send me -- softens the intensity of this guerilla warfare I am carrying on up here . Never until in this work of S-D organization have I realized and felt the attitude and experience of a Teacher .