H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat." He was a successful journalist, poet, historian and autobiographer. During the course of his career, Sandburg won three Pulitzer Prizes, one for history and two for poetry.
Much of his poetry focused on Chicago, Illinois, where he spent time as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News . His most famous description of the city is as "Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler,/Stormy, Husky, Brawling, City of the Big Shoulders."
During the Spanish-American War, Sandburg enlisted in the 6th Illinois Infantry. Following a brief (two week) career as a student at West Point with Douglas MacArthur, Sandburg got married in 1908. From 1912 to 1928, he lived in Chicago and nearby Evanston. During this time he began work on his series of biographies on Abraham Lincoln, which would eventually earn him his Pulitzer Prize in history (for Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 1940)
His home of 22 years in Flat Rock, North Carolina is preserved by the National Park Service as a national historic site. Carl Sandburg College is located in Sandburg's birthplace of Galesburg, Illinois.
Some works by Sandburg
- In Reckless Ecstasy (1904) (poetry)
- Chicago Poems (1916) (poetry)
- Cornhuskers (1918) (poetry)
- Smoke and Steel (1920) (poetry)
- Slabs of the Sunburnt West (1922) (poetry)
- Selected Poems (1926) (poetry)
- Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (1926) (history)
- The American Songbag (1927) (folk songs)
- Good Morning, America (1928) (poetry)
- Steichen the Photographer (1929) (history)
- Mary Lincoln: Wife and Widow (1932) (history)
- The People, Yes (1936) (poetry)
- Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939) (history)
- The New American Songbag (1950) (folk songs)
- Complete Poems (1950) (poetry)
- Harvest Poems (1950) (poetry)
- Honey and Salt (1963) (poetry)