March 25, 2013
The Lost Wallpaper
By Barbara Schock
Dr. Richard Sandburg
was a nephew of Carl Sandburg. He enjoyed writing
about his own childhood in Galesburg and some of
the family stories as they had come down to him.
August Sandburg had a difficult time earning
enough money to support his wife and seven
children. Sometimes, especially after the Panic of
1893, there was barely enough to eat. Making
repairs to their home was sometimes necessary, but
a large amount of ingenuity was required to
accomplish the task.
Mary Sandburg Johnson would tell her nephew about
some of the struggles of the family. He reported
that she had said “the rooms of the house at 809
East Berrien Street were kept spotlessly clean,
but over the years, the wallpaper became soiled
and torn, and the cost of new paper was beyond
“Fortunately, the manager of a local wallpaper and
paint store became aware of their plight and would
sneak them into the back room which contained
supplies and discarded, out-dated catalogues.
“Each page of the catalogues bore a different
design; one showed two boys playing catch; another
bore a dish of assorted fruit; and another
displayed multi-colored vertical or horizontal
stipes. One even depicted a dog and a cat in a
“The Sandburgs gratefully accepted the free,
outmoded catalogues, and after stripping or
cleaning the old paper, they set about measuring,
cutting, pasting and hanging the new pages next to
or above the others.
“The completed project revealed a fresh, bright
and clean appearance despite the incongruous
mismatched patterns, but which enabled them to
stretch their budget.”
Many years later, Dr. Sandburg visited the old
house on Berrien Street. The residents kindly
allowed him to see the entire house, but there was
no catalogue wallpaper to be seen.
March 25, 2013 - "The Lost Wallpaper Legend"
March 18, 2013 -"Martin G. Sandburg"
March 4, 2013 - "The Edison Talking Machine"
February 25, 2013 - "Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran"
February 18, 2013 - "Remember the Maine..."
February 11, 2013
- Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 -- Curiosity