September 24th, 2012
Carl Sandburg
Film: The Day Carl Sandburg Died

The Day Carl Sandburg Died, from writer, director and editor, Paul Bonesteel, and AMERICAN MASTERS on PBS.

American Masters The Day Carl Sandburg Died is a production of Bonesteel Films in association with THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET. Paul Bonesteel is writer, director and editor. Matthew Gellert is producer. Davis Bates is narrator. Music is by Zoe Keating. Susan Lacy is the series creator and executive producer of American Masters.

American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Jack Rudin, Vital Projects Fund, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers. Additional funding for The Day Carl Sandburg Died is provided by the Illinois Humanities Council, Nebraska Humanities Council, and North Carolina Humanities Council.

  • Ann J. Pace

    Wonderful! Inspiring! Sandburg has always been one of my heroes – for at least 60 years, anyway.

  • H.J. Johnson

    Great biographical documentary! Thank you for airing this timely piece. I recently rediscovered Carl Sandburg’s poetry in a used bookstore–the Chicago Poems —and found his poetry to be so much more than Fog or the Chicago poems we read in school. I remember hearing him give a performance and reading as a little girl—my father, whose parents were Swedish immigrants, grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and wanted me to meet him. I learned about his biography of Lincoln and as a child I visited his birthplace, even gave a report about him in grade school. What I didn’t realize until reading his poems recently, and also, after seeing this American Masters documentary, was the depth of his socialist beliefs and activism, or how novel his free verse and the content of his poems were for their time. I also didn’t realize the importance of the American Songbag. This documentary really resonates with the issues of today, with our growing inequality, with the Great Recession, with the loss of jobs for workers, and much more. Inspiring portrait. Much food for thought. Thank you again.

  • Jeanne McGuire

    Will this film be replayed? Our schedule didn’t allow us to view it–than you for your help!!

  • Wendy Copeland

    Saw this last night….one of the best films I have EVER seen.

  • Judith Williams

    I looked forward to watching “The Day Carl Sandburg Died”. For the most part I thought it was a great production.
    But then the background music took over, and was such a distraction, that I could hardly concentrate on what was being said. How did the background music relate to the story?
    I do love your series, and look forward to the next show.
    Thank you

  • Kay Foley Barancik

    What a fantastic documentary! I grew up in Galesburg IL and was always proud that Carl Sandburg was from my home town. I even met him briefly when I was very young and he was visiting the town. What amazes me is how little I really knew about him beyond his books that my father proudly displayed and his birthplace museum. This should be mandatory viewing for anyone from Galesburg and Chicago and well, every American. It was simply outstanding. Not only was it extremely well done, it explained Sandburg’s impact on history AND it was entertaining. It was clearly a work of art and love. Bravo.

  • EuGene Miller

    Viewers who love American history will appreciate this fascinating documentary. It was great to view the commentary by Studs Terkel. I look forward to reading Sandburg’s Chicago Poems, and the Lincoln biography. I can imagine Carl Sandburg reading poems at an Occupy Wall St rally, with Smedley Butler standing beside him. Thank you PBS, American Masters, and Bonesteel Films.



    Your film was beautiful, interesting, and informative.

    It is a great shame, however, that too many filmmakers, including yourselves, yield to the temptation to play your background music at an excessively high volume. Not only does this practice make it often difficult to hear the actual narration, it also detracts from the significance and meaning of the words, which surely must be paramount.

  • Augustus Castanis

    Why does the film not play?

    What is th epoint of this page?

  • Tom McNamara

    A note to users about video play: Please make sure you are running the latest version of flash and make sure your browser is up to date.

    –AM Team

  • John Duggan

    Please re-issue a version without the terribly annoying soundtrack.

    The film is informative in those rare parts where you can hear what is being said.

    Note that Judith and Roger (see above) raised similar concerns.

  • Sam Johnosn

    Snowy Sat. morning in North Dakota, and thoroughly enjoyed this American Master program on Carl Sandburg. Perhaps the best American Master episode I have seen. Thank you for reminding me to remember the gifts of this great poet, and for reminding me why I’ve loved them.

  • William J. Gleason

    I have always known that Carl Sandburg was a poet & musicologist. This film depicts a great American who soaked up history from the Civil War to the Cold War. The wars & The Great Depression are what created people like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger & Carl Sandburg. They all had a deep empathy for the common man & found majesty in his sufferings. They spoke truth to power (Pete still does). American treasures…


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