Andrew Carnegie’s decision to help library construction developed outside of his own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years during the coastal city 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.essaycapitals Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but were forced to stop after only 3 years. The rapid industrialization on the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father using business. Because of this, the family 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 did not end. Right after a year within a textile factory, he became a messenger boy for the 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 any young worker who wished to borrow a novel. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows by which light of knowledge streamed. In 1853, should the colonel’s representatives tried to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter for the editor within the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the right coming from all working boys have fun in the pleasures in the library. More significant, he resolved that, should he be wealthy, he will make similar opportunities suitable to other poor workers.
During the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that might enable him to satisfy that pledge. Throughout his years to be a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the ability of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts with all the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he went along to just work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent in the Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in a lot of other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to deal with the Keystone Bridge Company, that had been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. With the 1870s he was being focused 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 started to consider how to deal 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 regard to dependents, and distribute the remainder of their riches to benefit the welfare and happiness belonging to the common man–while using the consideration for helping just those would you help themselves. The Most Suitable 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 actual spread of information, additionally, the promotion of world peace. Several organizations consistently this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in Nyc, as an example, helps support Sesame Street.
Thanks to his background, Carnegie was particularly interested in public libraries. At some time he stated a library was the absolute best gift for the community, considering that it gave people the ability to improve themselves. His confidence was depending on the results of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, by way of example, a library given by Enoch Pratt was basically as used by 37,000 people twelve months. Carnegie believed that the relatively few public library patrons were of more value for their community when compared to the masses who chose never to take advantage of the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries in to 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 america. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities that include private pools along with libraries. On the years after 1896, referred to as the wholesale period, Carnegie not supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities which had limited admission to cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were for under $ten thousand. Although much of the towns receiving gifts were within the Midwest, as a whole 46 states taken advantage of Carnegie’s plan.
Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction following a report manufactured 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 generally be really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings were definitely provided, but now it was time to staff all of them professionals who would stimulate active, efficient libraries throughout their communities. Libraries already promised continued 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 he believed. His gifts to various charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a means to raise people’s lives, and libraries provided among 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 on? 2. Exactly how much formal education did Carnegie have? What factors led to his desire for books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people must do making use of their money? Why did he consider that? Should you agree? 4. How did supporting libraries fit with 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, For the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).