Sandburg's Hometown

April 29, 2013

Galesburg Opera House, 1870-1886.  Owner: Brechwald 

Edward Eggleston (1837-1902


By Barbara Schock

“...the habit of holding the mind open to conviction, and the habit of
questioning everything for the sake of learning more about it, are
certainly exceedingly valuable ones.”

Edward Eggleston

Carl Sandburg, in his autobiography, described reading a book by Edward Eggleston, How to Educate Yourself . He pondered the statement above for some time. He checked dictionaries and encyclopedias to be sure he understood all the words. It took some time, but he felt it was worth the effort. He asked himself questions such as: “What do I do when I think? What is thinking? What do I do when I see? Can I be too careful about what I think I see? Can my eyes fool me? Everything outside has its inside worth thinking about.”

Edward Eggleston was born near Vevay, Indiana, December 10, 1837. He was mostly educated by his father and step-father because his health limited his attendance at school. At the age of nineteen, he became a Methodist circuit rider in Indiana, and later a pastor in Minnesota.

In 1866, Eggleston moved to Chicago to work for The Little Corporal, the first American magazine written for children. He became a sort of “urban wanderer” writing about the paradoxes of the city. He saw that newspapers interested the public in sensational stories rather than useful information. Department stores created desires in individuals which were impossible to control. Streetcars mixed all sorts of people together with unexpected results.

The Hoosier School-Master was written as a serial for The Little Corporal. It was also published as a novel and became one of Eggleston’s best known books. The story was based on the experiences of his younger brother. The book became very popular and was translated into French, German and Danish. He also wrote The Circuit Rider about his own experiences.

Eggleston continued writing stories for children, historical fiction and later branched out to writing about the history of America. He approached this writing by reflecting the character of the people and the time in which they lived. He paid attention to social, religious and intellectual qualities which contributed to or were caused by the events of the period. His interest in writing about the Colonial and Revolutionary periods came naturally as his ancestors came to Virginia in the 17th century from England.

In 1870 Eggleston moved to New York to edit another publication. He also served as pastor to a congregation in Brooklyn. He didn’t return to Chicago, but his writing about the Midwest was the beginning of a literary tradition in which Carl Sandburg and many other writers participated.

The books of Edward Eggleston can be read on the Project Gutenberg site < >.

Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
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