Bronze bust of Carl Sandburg donated to Carl Sandburg College

A bust of Carl Sandburg, commissioned by the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet, was recently donated to the school that shares his name by the family of the sculptor.

Last month, the statue created by Fingal Rosenquist and commissioned by Carl Sandburg himself was donated and delivered to Carl Sandburg College by the sculptor’s nephew Carl Rosenquist.

“He was a man of the people,” Carl Rosenquist said. “He would appreciate being at this college.”

According to Rosenquist, his aunt first met Sandburg around 1940 in Philadelphia at the American Swedish Historical Museum, where Sandburg was giving a lecture and Rosenquist was having a show. Sandburg approached the sculptor about creating a piece for him in the future.

The two remained in touch and in the late 1950s, Sandburg commissioned a bust of himself and came to her studio for about a week to sit for the sculpture.

Carl Rosenquist said that he, his younger brother, and two of his aunt’s friends even helped pour the plaster mold for the piece. “I think we worked 24 hours straight on that thing,” Rosenquist joked.

After it was completed, the bronze statue was intended to go to a school in New Jersey but the arrangement fell apart. Sandburg ended up giving the piece to it’s Fingal Rosenquist, who passed away in 1980.

It remained in the Rosenquist family for 40 years until they decided to donate it to a place that would appreciate Sandburg’s history.

A permanent location is still being decided but the college plans to have it featured prominently on campus.

Fingal Rosenquist stands next to her sculpture of Carl Sandburg that was commissioned in the late 1950s by the Galesburg native and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. The Rosenquist family recently donated the bust to Carl Sandburg College. (Photo courtesy of Carl Rosenquist)
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