Andrew Carnegie’s decision to assist library construction developed from his experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years in the coastal town of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed in the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.visit the site Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but simply had to stop after only 3 years. The rapid industrialization within the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father from business. As a consequence, family members sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to venture to work, his learning did not end. Following a year with a textile factory, he was a messenger boy in the local telegraph company. Several of his fellow messengers introduced him to Col. James Anderson of Allegheny, who every Saturday opened his personal library to your young worker who wished to borrow a novel. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows where the lighting of knowledge streamed. In 1853, after the colonel’s representatives attempted to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter on the editor of your Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the proper of all the working boys to take pleasure from the pleasures on the library. More vital, he resolved that, should he be wealthy, he will make similar opportunities offered to other poor workers.
Covering the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune which could enable him to satisfy that pledge. During his years to be a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the ability of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts along with the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he attended work at age 18. During his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent of the Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in a variety of other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to handle the Keystone Bridge Company, which was successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. By 1870s he was concentrating on steel manufacturing, ultimately creating the Carnegie Steel Company. In 1901 he sold that business for $250 million.
Carnegie then retired and devoted the remainder of his life to philanthropy. Prior to selling Carnegie Steel he had begun to consider how to deal with his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, wherein he stated that wealthy men should live without extravagance, provide moderately with regards to their dependents, and distribute the remainder of their riches to help the welfare and happiness of your common man–with the consideration that can help just those who will help themselves. The Best Fields for Philanthropy, his second essay, listed seven fields in which the wealthy should donate: universities, libraries, medical centers, public parks, meeting and concert halls, public baths, and churches. He later expanded this list to provide gifts that promoted scientific research, the normal spread of knowledge, and the promotion of world peace. Several organizations continue to this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in Ny, for example, helps support Sesame Street.
By reason of his background, Carnegie was particularly serious about public libraries. At one point he stated a library was the absolute best gift for that community, since it gave people the chance to improve themselves. His confidence was using the outcomes of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, one example is, a library distributed by Enoch Pratt were definitely employed by 37,000 folks 12 months. Carnegie considered that the relatively few public library patrons were of more value in their community when compared to the masses who chose never to take pleasure in the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries straight into the retail and wholesale periods. Within the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities in north america. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities similar to swimming pools combined with libraries. On the years after 1896, known as wholesale period, Carnegie not any longer supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities who had limited accessibility to cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were for less than $10,000. Although a lot of the towns receiving gifts were on the Midwest, altogether 46 states benefited from Carnegie’s plan.
Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction after a report intended to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 on the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report concluded that to end up being really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings was basically provided, but now the time had come to staff all of them with professionals who would stimulate active, efficient libraries for their communities. Libraries already promised continued as being built until 1923, but after 1919 all financial support was considered library education.
When Andrew Carnegie died in 1919 at age 84, he had given nearly one-fourth of his life to causes through which he believed. His gifts to varied charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 percent of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a technique to improve people’s lives, and libraries provided among his main tools to assist you to Americans produce a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both when he was young, and later on? 2. Just how much formal education did Carnegie have? What factors led to his desire for books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people have to do making use of their money? Why did he believe that? Should you agree? 4. How did supporting libraries match Carnegie’s past and his beliefs? Reading 1 was compiled from George S. Bobinski, Carnegie Libraries (Chicago: American Library Association, 1969); Andrew Carnegie, Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie, reprint (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1920 1986); Barry Sears, To the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).