Illinois History Minutes

August 23 Illinois History Minute


It’s August 23rd, and writer Edgar Lee Masters was born on this day in 1868. Masters grew up in central Illinois, inspired his best-known book.

Spoon River Anthology, which features the departed of a small-town cemetery telling their stories in blank verse – which Masters based on the actual stories of people buried in Petersburg and Lewistown, his two childhood home towns.  Spoon River Anthology came in for a lot of home-town criticism during Masters’ lifetime. But today, a monument in the Lewistown cemetery celebrates the link between Masters’ poetry and many of the people buried there.