Andrew Carnegie’s decision to help library construction developed beyond 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 in the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.great site Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but must stop after only 3 years. The rapid industrialization from the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father out of business. Due to this fact, a family sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie pay a visit to work, his learning did not end. Right after a year in any textile factory, he became a messenger boy in the local telegraph company. Most 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 book. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows where light of information streamed. In 1853, if your colonel’s representatives aimed to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter on the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the appropriate of working boys to experience the pleasures with the library. More essential, he resolved that, should he ever be wealthy, he will make similar opportunities designed to other poor workers.
On the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that is going to enable him to satisfy that pledge. Throughout his years as the messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the art of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts together with the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he went to work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent belonging to the Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in many different other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to regulate the Keystone Bridge Company, this was successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. By 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. Just before selling Carnegie Steel he had started to consider how to handle his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, through which he stated that wealthy men should do without extravagance, provide moderately for dependents, and distribute the rest of their riches to help the welfare and happiness on the common man–with all the consideration that will help just those who will help themselves. The Most Effective 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 incorporate gifts that promoted scientific research, the overall spread of knowledge, as well as promotion of world peace. Most of these organizations still this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in Ny, to provide an example, helps support Sesame Street.
Caused by his background, Carnegie was particularly enthusiastic about public libraries. At some time he stated a library was the perfect gift for any community, given it gave people the opportunity improve themselves. His confidence was depending upon the results of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, such as, a library offered by Enoch Pratt have been applied by 37,000 folks a year. Carnegie considered that the relatively few public library patrons were more value to the community versus the masses who chose not to gain benefit from the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries straight into the retail and wholesale periods. During the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities across the nation. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities like pools not to mention libraries. Inside the years after 1896, called the wholesale period, Carnegie do not supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities who had limited use of cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were for under $10,000. Although the majority of the towns receiving gifts were in the Midwest, overall 46 states taken advantage of Carnegie’s plan.
Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction right after a report made to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 of this existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report determined that to be really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings was provided, the good news is it was time to staff all of them professionals who would stimulate active, efficient libraries in their communities. Libraries already promised continued to end up being built until 1923, but after 1919 all financial support was looked to library education.
When Andrew Carnegie died in 1919 at age 84, he had given nearly one-fourth of his life to causes by which he believed. His gifts to various charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 percent of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as an approach to increase people’s lives, and libraries provided undoubtedly one of his main tools that will help Americans create a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both as he was young, and later on? 2. How much money formal education did Carnegie have? What factors led to his involvement with books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people should do with regards to their money? Why did he think that? Does a person agree? 4. How did supporting libraries match Carnegie’s past with his fantastic 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).