Portrait Gallery

Carl Sandburg Is Paid Tribute In Chicago on 75th Birthday

By the Associated Press

Sandburg Strums A Tune—Chicago.—Carl Sandburg, the poet and historican, strums a guitar at his 75th Birthday anniversary party. — AP Wirephoto.

CHICAGO, Jan. 7. — Carl Sandburg returned to Chicago, the city which he once called “big shouldered” and “proud to be alive,” and found it to be just that at a celebration of his 75th birthday anniversary.

More than 500 friends, admirers and contemporaries jammed the crystal room of the Blackstone Hotel last night to honor the famous poet, Lincoln biographer and novelist.

Self-composed, serious and witty, Mr. Sandburg accepted the many honors and gifts bestowed on him.

It was a warm and hearty tribute to the poet from the Illinois prairies, the son of Swedish immigrants, who first gained recognition in the literary world in 1914 with publication of his poems in a Chicago magazine.

Truman Sends Message.

Congratulatory messages were received from hundreds, including European dignitaries and President Truman.

The President congratulated Mr. Sandburg and thanked him for “helping Americans see their forefathers, their cities, their farms and themselves a little more clearly.”

Swedish Ambassador Erik Boheman, on behalf of King Gustav VI, presented Mr. Sandburg with the Order of the Northern-Star. Seated with him at the head table with the Ambassador was his wife Lillian.

Referring to his birthday party, Mr. Sandburg said at 65 “it would be hard to take. At 55, impossible, at 45, unthinkable, but at 75, when you see the flickering rims and rays of sunset, it's not so hard.”

Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois, who was unable to appear as scheduled because of pressing State duties, sent a transcribed message, which was heard at the banquet.

Gov. Stevenson described the white-haired poet as “the one living man whose work and whose life epitomize for me the American dream.”

“His is the earthiness of the prairies, the majesty of mountains, the anger of deep inland seas,” Gov. Stevenson's message continued.

William H. Townsend of Lexington, Ky., also a Lincoln author and a noted raconteur, commissioned Mr. Sandburg a colonel in the confederate air force.

Famous Lines Recalled.

Many of Mr. Sandburg's friends at the party recalled the famous lines in one of his poems —“Chicago”— that started him on the way to literary fame.

Mr. Sandburg described the Midwest metropolis 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.”

In later years he became better known as author of a six volume Pulitzer Prize biography of Lincoln. And as a part of his 75th birthday anniversary celebration yesterday, his autobiography “Always the Young Strangers.” was placed on sale. Another birthday celebration is planned for Mr. Sandburg this week end in his home town, Galesburg, Ill. His present home is in Flat Rock. N. C.

Carl Sandburg Is Paid Tribute In Chicago on 75th Birthday The Evening Star, Washington D.C., January 07, 1953, Page B-20.