Andrew Carnegie’s decision to support library construction developed out from his personal 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.straight from the source Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but needed to stop after only 36 months. The rapid industrialization of your textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father beyond business. As a consequence, the 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 from a textile factory, he became a messenger boy in the local telegraph company. A part 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 by which the sunlight of knowledge streamed. In 1853, in the event the colonel’s representatives tried to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter into the editor of this Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the most suitable in all working boys to relish the pleasures of this library. More valuable, he resolved that, should he be wealthy, he makes similar opportunities available for other poor workers.
Through the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that might enable him to fulfill that pledge. Throughout his years as a good messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the art of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts when using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he visited work on age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent from 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 look after the Keystone Bridge Company, which was successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. By 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. Just before 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, during which he stated that wealthy men should live without extravagance, provide moderately for their dependents, and distribute most of their riches to help the welfare and happiness with the common man–using the consideration that may help only those who will help themselves. The Perfect 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 general spread of information, and also the promotion of world peace. Several of these organizations carry on and this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in New York City, one example is, helps support Sesame Street.
Because of his background, Carnegie was particularly keen on public libraries. At some time he stated a library was the very best gift for one community, mainly because it gave people the opportunity improve themselves. His confidence was in accordance with the results of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, as an example ,, a library given by Enoch Pratt appeared to be utilised by 37,000 folks 12 months. Carnegie believed the relatively small number of public library patrons were more value towards their community as opposed to the masses who chose to never gain benefit from the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries in to the retail and wholesale periods. All through 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 that include swimming pools and also libraries. Inside 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 under $10,000. Although many of the towns receiving gifts were in your Midwest, overall 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 with the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report concluded that to become really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings have been provided, however right now it was time to staff these people with professionals who would stimulate active, efficient libraries inside their communities. Libraries already promised continued to end up being 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 where by he believed. His gifts to varied charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 percent of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a way to increase people’s lives, and libraries provided amongst his main tools that can help Americans form a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both as he was young, and later in life? 2. Exactly how much formal education did Carnegie have? What factors contributed to his affinity for books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people must do using money? Why did he consider that? Do you ever agree? 4. How did supporting libraries fit with Carnegie’s past and his awesome 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).