Andrew Carnegie’s decision to aid library construction developed away from his very own 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 on the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.more Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but been required to stop after only 36 months. The rapid industrialization within the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father through business. Thus, the family sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to go to work, his learning failed to end. Following a year in a very textile factory, he was a messenger boy to your local telegraph company. A handful 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 magazine. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows in which the sunlight of information streamed. In 1853, as soon as the colonel’s representatives tried to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter for the editor of your Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the right of all the working boys have fun with the pleasures with the library. More important, he resolved that, should he be wealthy, he would make similar opportunities available to other poor workers.
On the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that may enable him to meet that pledge. During his years to be a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the ability of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he went to work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent on the Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in a number of other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to handle the Keystone Bridge Company, which has been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. Because of the 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. Before selling Carnegie Steel he had started to consider what to do with his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, that he stated that wealthy men should live without extravagance, provide moderately for their dependents, and distribute the rest of their riches to help the welfare and happiness within the common man–when using the consideration that can help only those who would help themselves. The Best Quality Fields for Philanthropy, his second essay, listed seven fields to 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 typical spread of knowledge, and the promotion of world peace. A large number of organizations always this very day: the Carnegie Corporation in Nyc, to illustrate, helps support Sesame Street.
Resulting from his background, Carnegie was particularly enthusiastic about public libraries. At one point he stated a library was the very best gift for a community, since it gave people a chance to improve themselves. His confidence was in line with the outcomes of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, as an example ,, a library given by Enoch Pratt were definitely employed by 37,000 people in a year. Carnegie believed the relatively few public library patrons were more value in their community in comparison to the masses who chose not to take advantage of the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries into your retail and wholesale periods. In the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities in the country. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities just like pools in addition to libraries. While in the years after 1896, called wholesale period, Carnegie no more supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities which had limited having access 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 lots of the towns receiving gifts were in your Midwest, altogether 46 states benefited from Carnegie’s plan.
Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction using a report manufactured to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 within the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report determined that being really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings was provided, these days it was time to staff these with professionals who would stimulate active, efficient libraries for their communities. Libraries already promised continued to get built until 1923, but after 1919 all financial support was turned to library education.
When Andrew Carnegie died in 1919 at age 84, he had given nearly one-fourth of his life to causes whereby he believed. His gifts to numerous charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as an approach to enhance people’s lives, and libraries provided considered one of his main tools to assist you to Americans generate a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both when he was young, and down the road? 2. The amount of formal education did Carnegie have? What factors led to his curiosity about books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people needs to do with regards to their money? Why did he imagine that? Do you really 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, About the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).