Andrew Carnegie’s decision to support library construction developed out of his very own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years inside coastal town of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed coming from the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create. Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but were required to stop after only 36 months. The rapid industrialization belonging to the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father away from business. For that reason, the family unit sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

  • November 28, 2014

Andrew Carnegie’s decision to support library construction developed out of his very own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years inside coastal town of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed coming from the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.Visit Your URL Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but were required to stop after only 36 months. The rapid industrialization belonging to the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father away from business. For that reason, the family unit 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 failed to end. After the year from a textile factory, he was a messenger boy for any local telegraph company. A number 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 guide. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows during which the sunlight of knowledge streamed. In 1853, after the colonel’s representatives tried to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter on the editor of this Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the best of all working boys to enjoy the pleasures of the library. More essential, he resolved that, should he be wealthy, he will make similar opportunities designed for other poor workers.

Throughout the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that would enable him to fulfill that pledge. During his years as a good messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the ability of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts while using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he visited work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent for 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, that has been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. From 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. Prior to selling Carnegie Steel he had begun to consider what to do with 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 with regards to their dependents, and distribute the rest of their riches to help the welfare and happiness from the common man–using the consideration to help you only 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 typical spread of knowledge, plus the promotion of world peace. A great number of organizations continue to this day: the Carnegie Corporation in New York City, to illustrate, helps support Sesame Street.

As a consequence of his background, Carnegie was particularly keen on public libraries. At one point he stated a library was the very best gift to have a community, considering that it gave people the opportunity improve themselves. His confidence was in line with the results of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, one example is, a library given by Enoch Pratt was utilized by 37,000 individuals 12 month. Carnegie believed the relatively few public library patrons were of more value with their community versus the masses who chose not to benefit from the library.

Carnegie divided his donations to libraries straight 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 usa. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities for example private pools in addition to libraries. On the years after 1896, called wholesale period, Carnegie no more supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities that 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 $10,000. Although much of the towns receiving gifts were while in the Midwest, overall 46 states took advantage of Carnegie’s plan.

Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction after having a report produced to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 with the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report determined that for being really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings had been 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 become 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 where he believed. His gifts to various charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a technique to enhance people’s lives, and libraries provided one of his main tools to support Americans form 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. Simply how much formal education did Carnegie have? What factors contributed to his desire for books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people should do with regards to their money? Why did he consider that? Can you agree? 4. How did supporting libraries match Carnegie’s past and the 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).

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