Andrew Carnegie’s decision to compliment library construction developed from his own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years within the coastal town of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed out of the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.read the article Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but was required to stop after only three years. The rapid industrialization on the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father through business. Due to this fact, the family sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to attend work, his learning failed to end. After the year inside of a textile factory, he became a messenger boy for that local telegraph company. Several of his fellow messengers introduced him to Col. James Anderson of Allegheny, who every Saturday opened his personal library to any young worker who wished to borrow a novel. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows during which the sunshine of information streamed. In 1853, if the colonel’s representatives attempted to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter towards editor belonging to the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the proper of all of the working boys to have enjoyment from the pleasures on the library. More important, he resolved that, should he ever be wealthy, he makes similar opportunities accessible to other poor workers.
On the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that might enable him to satisfy that pledge. During his years like a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the ability of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts when using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he attended work at age 18. During his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent for the Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in many other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to look after the Keystone Bridge Company, which had been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. By your 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 handle his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, in which he stated that wealthy men should do without extravagance, provide moderately with regards to dependents, and distribute the remainder of their riches to benefit the welfare and happiness on the common man–aided by the consideration to assist only those would you help themselves. The Best Quality Fields for Philanthropy, his second essay, listed seven fields 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 add gifts that promoted scientific research, the normal spread of knowledge, as well as promotion of world peace. A number of these organizations always this very day: the Carnegie Corporation in The Big Apple, for instance, helps support Sesame Street.
Due to his background, Carnegie was particularly thinking about public libraries. At some time he stated a library was the perfect gift for one community, as it gave people the chance to improve themselves. His confidence was depending on outcomes of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, one example is, a library provided by Enoch Pratt appeared to be employed by 37,000 people in one full year. Carnegie thought that the relatively small number of public library patrons were of more value to their own community as opposed to masses who chose never to enjoy the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries into the retail and wholesale periods. Throughout the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities in the nation. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities including pools and also libraries. With the years after 1896, referred to as the wholesale period, Carnegie not necessarily supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities who had limited a chance to access cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were for less than $ten thousand. Although a lot of the towns receiving gifts were in the Midwest, as a whole 46 states taken advantage of Carnegie’s plan.
Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction carrying out a report intended to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 for the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report figured that to remain really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings ended up being provided, however the time had come to staff these people with professionals who would stimulate active, efficient libraries into their communities. Libraries already promised continued to generally be 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 of which he believed. His gifts to several charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 percent of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a way to boost people’s lives, and libraries provided one of his main tools to help Americans build a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both when he was young, and in the future? 2. What amount of formal education did Carnegie have? What factors led to his interest in books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people needs to do using money? Why did he feel that? Do you ever 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, Over the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).