"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Friday, January 21, 2022

Carl Sandburg

This caricature of Carl Sandburg by Peggy Bacon appeared in her 1934 book Off with Their Heads!, which includes a cartoon and a short description of the subject.

Carl Sandburg

Strong sculptured head, massive muzzle. Discolored white hair in long straight strands falling forward at right angles to each other. Sultry skin, deep-set eyes. Heavy short eye-brows. Deep, vertical indentations between brows, above and below mouth, giving violent, cloven look to head. Chunky nose taking edge off stern Roman senator look, lends a clownish and rural expression to face. No vest. Spotted tie drifting down. Soft shirt loose on terrapin neck. Head thrust forward with bovine earnestness. Story blue-gray eyes with crumbs of white, focused on horizon. Dogged, sincere and romantic.

The root vegetables in the cartoon refer to Sandburg's 1922 children's book Rootabaga Stories.

Bacon's caricature might be compared to this one by Eva Hermann from her 1929 book On Parade. Hermann has each of her subjects supply a short philosophy to accompany the caricature.

 I am credulous about the destiny of man,  the future of the race, and the importance of illusions. I would like to be in the same moment an earthworm (which I am) and a rider to the moon (which I am). -- Carl Sandburg 

The photo below appeared on the cover of Gladys Zehnpfennig's 1963 book Carl Sandburg, Poet and Patriot.

And here's Carl Sandburg as he appeared in the Chicago Day Book, June 1, 1916, in a review of Sandburg's Chicago Poems. (Read Chicago by Carl Sandburg.)

This 1937 image portrays the young Carl Sandburg before the Spanish American War, working at odd-jobs. See Carl Sandburg Never Would Settle Down by Jeanne, Weekly Magazine, June 1937. 

In 1941 Carl Sandburg wrote the commentary for “Bomber” a short film by the Office of Production Management. 

   Poet and historian turns to films.

Carl Sandburg is shown here as he was writing the commentary for “Bomber”, national defense motion Picture just completed by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) film unit. Mr. Sandburg is famous as the Pulitzer prize winning author of “The War Years,” monumental biography of Abraham Lincoln, and as the author of numerous poems and other works. Mr. Sandburg is also famous as a musician, newspaper columnist and authority on Americans. The commentary for “Bomber” was his first excursion into film making. He volunteered his services to the defense program and served without pay. (LOC)

You can see “Bomber” here.

And here we have Sandburg strumming a guitar at a celebration of his 75th birthday. (Carl Sandburg Is Paid Tribute In Chicago on 75th BirthdayThe Washington Star, Jan 7, 1953.)

Sandburg Strums A Tune—Chicago.—Carl Sandburg, the poet and historican, strums a guitar at his 75th Birthday anniversary party. — AP Wirephoto.
(Hear Carl Sandburg sing “The Horse Name Bill.”)

William A. Smith painted a portrait of Carl Sandburg at the age of 82 in 1960 which now resides in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. (Read Pushups and Poetry. See Smith's Portrait of Carl Sandburg.) 

The Poet, in artist Smith's studio in Buck's County, Pa. 

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