Sandburg's Hometown

February 10, 2014

President Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln's  Birthday
by Barbara Schock

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the end of the Civil War, there were scattered observances of his birthday. As early as 1866, patriotic organizations held banquets to honor Lincoln’s birthday. Buffalo, New York, conducted a city-wide observance in 1874. Clergymen often gave sermons about Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation and the preservation of the Union.

 In 1879, the United States Congress established a holiday for government workers to observe the birthday of George Washington on February 22nd. It was considered important to honor the father of our country. States and municipalities began to recognize the holiday as well. The members of Congress did not consider a holiday for Lincoln’s birthday.

 In the decades after the Civil War there was little agreement on how to remember the sacrifices by the North and the South. The subject was too controversial for Congress to even consider naming a holiday for Lincoln. To this day there is no official holiday honoring Lincoln’s birthday. However, many Northern states did designate February 12th as a holiday for workers.

 In 1968, Congress approved the Uniform Monday Holiday Law which made the third Monday of February a national holiday honoring George Washington’s birthday. The holiday would never again fall on February 22nd. The third Monday always falls on the 15th through the 21st.

 The intent of the law was to establish three-day weekends for the majority of national holidays. It was said families would have more time to spend together. There was little mention of the fact that retailers and other businessmen saw the longer weekends as opportunities for more sales.

 Advertisements soon were declaring “Presidents Day Sales.” It was assumed that Lincoln’s February 12th birthday was included in the expression, but it was not true.

 Carl Sandburg, through years of study and struggle, finally came to the theme of his life’s work: the common man. Abraham Lincoln was the epitome of that theme.

 In February, 1910, Sandburg wrote an article for the Milwaukee Social-Democratic Herald in honor of Lincoln’s birthday. It was the first time he used his own name to sign his writing. This is part of what he wrote:

“Let us not forget Abraham Lincoln was a shabby, homely man who came from among those who live shabby and homely lives....He came into life sad–down in the sad world of labor–labor burdened and tragic and exploited.....He never forgot the tragic, the weary underworld from which he came–the world of labor, the daily lives of toil, deprivation and monotony. Against those things he fought. He struggled for more–more food and books and better conditions for the workers....”

Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
February 10, 2014 Lincoln's Birthday
February 3, 2014  The Colonel
January 27, 2014 The Lincoln Penny - A Little History
January 20, 2014 Walking to Work
January 13, 2014  A Small Abode
January 6, 2014 Birth of a Poet
December 30, 2013 Christmas 1880
December 23, 2013 Swedish Christmas
December 16, 2013 The Reporter Sees Santa
December 9, 2013 The Coming of Christmas
December 2, 2013 The Fire Boys Talk
November 25, 2013 Galesburg Will Feast on Turkeys and Cranberries - Thanksgiving 1893
November 18, 2013  Mary Sandburg Johnson
November 11, 2013 Carl Sandburg's Bicycle
November 4, 2013  Lace Curtains 
October 28, 2013 The Front Room
October 21, 2013 A Warm Breakfast
October 14, 2013 Marion D. Shutter
October 7, 2013 Cigars and Consumption
September 30, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke & August Sandburg
September 16, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke, Mayor
September 9, 2013 Dusty Streets
September 2, 2013 Typhoid Fever
August 26, 2013 Coffee and Water
August 19, 2013 A Horse! A Horse!
August 12, 2013 Gaddial Scott
August 5, 2013 The Racetrack
July 29, 2013 John Peter Algeld - Part II
July 22, 2013 John Peter Altgeld - Part I
July 15, 2013 Tramps, Tramps, Tramps
July 8, 2013 Lady Liberty
July 1, 2013 Galesburg's Fourth
June 24, 2013 John H. Finley
June 17, 2013 The World's Columbian Exhibition
June 10, 2013 Fruit Short-Cake
June 3, 2013 Horatio Alger, Author
May 27, 2013 Memorial Day, 1887
May 20, 2013 Professor Jon W. Grubb
May 13, 2013 Beginnings of Lombard University
May 6, 2013 Young Sandburg’s View of Lombard College
April 29, 2013 Thinking
April 22, 2013 Robert Colville, Master Mechanic
April 15, 2013 The Galesburg Opera House
April 8, 2013 Grocery Stores and Sample Rooms
April 1, 2013  A Hearty  Breakfast 
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