Carl Sandburg's work "The American Songbag" (1927) served a crucial function and as a constant point of reference in the American folk-music revival that began in the early 1930s, struggled through the 1940s and 1950s, and finally found its voice in the full-throated roar of anti-war protest and social-action of the 1960s. The books, letters, and photographs from Sandburg's personal collection placed on display convey his commitment to populist politics and his deliberate attempts to connect with a broad audience through the elegant and beautiful medium of American folk music.
The exhibition is curated by Chatham Ewing, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's curator of Special Collections. The exhibits illustrate the dialogue between Sandburg, Ruth and Pete Seeger, and John and Alan Lomax, all central figures in the twentieth-century revival of American folk-music.
An exhibition reception and reading will take place Monday, March 14th from 5:30 to 7:00 as part of the University of Illinois Creative Writing Program's Early Spring Literary Festival, and in advance of the 7:30 p.m. performance of, “Prayers for the People: Carl Sandburg’s Poetry and Songs.” The exhibit will run from 21 January through 1 April, 2011.