Tracking History: Carl Sandburg earns honor, and diploma, in Galesburg

Excerpt from the Register-Mail:

One of Galesburg’s favorite sons, Carl August Sandburg, was born Jan, 6, 1878, in a three-room cottage on East Third Street. You name it and Carl probably did it during his lifetime. He became world famous as a poet, biographer, journalist, novelist and folklorist. He described himself as a stranger, seeker, traveler, singer and eternal hobo.

One of Sandburg’s remarkable traits was his varied accomplishments with only a scattered and often interrupted formal education. One of the little known facts about Carl was that he actually spoke Swedish before he learned English. Charlie, as he became known, began his formal education in the first-grade classroom of Miss Flora Ward at the Seventh Ward School on Galesburg’s south side.

After successfully completing the fourth grade at the Seventh Ward School, Charlie Sandburg attended the fifth grade in downtown Galesburg at the Churchill Grammar School. Charlie completed the eighth grade at Churchill at the age of 14 and ending his schooling with a decision not to attend Galesburg High School. The main reason for dropping out of school was to go into the workplace and help finance the further education of his sister Mary.

At the age of 20, Charlie successfully fibbed about his age and was sworn into Company C, 6th Infantry Regiment, Illinois volunteers….

…. Following his discharge from the army he intended to set out and further explore the country with the hoboes. Although he had grown up in Galesburg roaming the lawns and buildings of Lombard and Knox colleges, he had no intentions, in his wildest dreams, of furthering his education. His life was to change forever when it was discovered that he was afforded free tuition at Lombard College as a war veteran. He was accepted as a student at Lombard, although he had not attended high school.