Andrew Carnegie’s decision to back up library construction developed out of his own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years while in the coastal city of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed from the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.Extra resources Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but were forced to stop after only 3 years. The rapid industrialization within the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father from business. As a result, the family unit sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to consult with work, his learning failed to end. After the year in any textile factory, he was a messenger boy with the local telegraph company. Some 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, if your colonel’s representatives aimed to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter with the editor in the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending an appropriate among all working boys to have fun with the pleasures with the library. More vital, he resolved that, should he ever be wealthy, he will make similar opportunities on the market to other poor workers.
Over the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune which will enable him to meet that pledge. Throughout his years as a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the art of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he attended just work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent of your Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in numerous other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to handle the Keystone Bridge Company, which had been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. With the 1870s he was centering 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. Even before 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, where by he stated that wealthy men should live without extravagance, provide moderately with regard to their dependents, and distribute the remainder of their riches to benefit the welfare and happiness in the common man–aided by the consideration to aid just those who would help themselves. The Most Beneficial 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 add in gifts that promoted scientific research, the typical spread of information, as well as the promotion of world peace. Some of these organizations continue to keep this very day: the Carnegie Corporation in Ny, to provide an example, helps support Sesame Street.
Because of his background, Carnegie was particularly keen on public libraries. At some time he stated a library was the absolute best gift for any community, as it gave people the ability to improve themselves. His confidence was depending on the outcomes of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, for instance, a library given by Enoch Pratt ended up being as used by 37,000 people 12 months. Carnegie considered that the relatively small number of public library patrons were more value with their community as compared to the masses who chose to never enjoy the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries into your retail and wholesale periods. While in the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities in america. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities that include swimming pools along with libraries. On the years after 1896, referred to as the wholesale period, Carnegie will no 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 cheaper than $ten thousand. Although almost all the towns receiving gifts were on the Midwest, overall 46 states benefited from Carnegie’s plan.
Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction right after a report developed 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 being really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings was provided, however it was time to staff them with experts who would stimulate active, efficient libraries on their communities. Libraries already promised continued to generally be built until 1923, but after 1919 all financial support was turned into 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 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a method to enhance people’s lives, and libraries provided certainly one of his main tools to help you Americans make a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both as he was young, and down the road? 2. The amount formal education did Carnegie have? What factors led to his affinity for books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people should do using their money? Why did he believe? Does one 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, Over the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).