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Andrew Carnegie (properly , but commonly or ) (25 November 1835 – 11 August 1919) was a Scottish industrialist, businessman, entrepreneur, and a major philanthropist.

He is one of the most famous captains of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was an immigrant as a child with his parents. He built Pittsburgh'smarker Carnegie Steel Company, which was later merged with Elbert H. Gary's Federal Steel Company and several smaller companies to create U.S. Steel. With the fortune he made from business, he later turned to philanthropy and interests in education, founding the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Mellon Universitymarker and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie gave away most of his money to establish many libraries, schools, and universities in America, the United Kingdommarker and other countries, as well as a pension fund for former employees. He is often regarded as the second-richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe.

He earned most of his fortune in the steel industry. In the 1870s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, a step which cemented his name as one of the “Captains of Industry”. By the 1890s, the company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. Carnegie sold it to J.P. Morgan in 1901, who created U.S. Steel. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. His life has often been referred to as a true "rags to riches" story.


Early life

Andrew Carnegie was born on 25 November 1835 in Dunfermlinemarker, Scotlandmarker in a typical weaver's cottage with only one main room consisting of half the ground floor which was shared with the neighbouring weaver's family. The main room would serve as a living room, dining room and bedroom. He was named after his paternal grandfather. In 1836, the family moved to a larger house in Edgar Street (opposite Reid's Park), following the demand for more heavy damask which his father, William Carnegie benefited from. His uncle, George Lauder to whom he referred to as "dod" introduced him to the writings of Robert Burns and such historical Scottish heroes as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy. Falling on very hard times as a handloom weaver and with the country in starvation, William Carnegie decided to emigrate with his family to Allegheny, Pennsylvania in the United Statesmarker in 1848 for the prospect of a better life. Andrew's family had to borrow money in order to emigrate. Allegheny was a very poor area. His first job at age 13 in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill twelve hours a day, six days a week. His wages were $1.25 per week. Andrew's father, William Carnegie, started off working in a cotton mill but then would earn money weaving and peddling linens. His mother, Margaret Morrison Carnegie, earned money by binding shoes.

In 1850, Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week, following the recommendation of his uncle. His new job gave him many benefits including free admission to the local theater. This made him appreciate Shakespeare's work.He was a very hard worker and would memorize all of the locations of Pittsburgh's businesses and the faces of important men. He made many connections this way. He also paid close attention to the telegraph's instruments and within a year was promoted as an operator.

Carnegie's education and passion for reading was given a great boost by Colonel James Anderson, who opened his personal library of 400 volumes to working boys each Saturday night. Carnegie was a consistent borrower and a "self-made man" in both his economic development and his intellectual and cultural development. His capacity, willingness for hard work, his perseverance, and his alertness soon brought forth opportunities. At work, Carnegie quickly taught himself to distinguish the differing sounds the incoming telegraph signals produced and learned to transcribe signals by ear, without having to write them down.

Starting in 1853, Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company employed Carnegie as a secretary/telegraph operator at a salary of $4.00 per week. At age eighteen, the youth began a rapid advancement through the company, becoming the superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division. His employment by the Pennsylvania would be vital to his later success. The railroads were the first big businesses in America, and the Pennsylvania was one of the largest of them all. Carnegie learned much about management and cost control during these years, and from Scott in particular.

Scott also helped him with his first investments. Many of these were part of the corruption indulged in by Scott and the Pennsylvania's president, J. Edgar Thomson, which consisted of inside trading in companies that the railroad did business with, or payoffs made by contracting parties "as part of a quid pro quo," as biographer David Nasaw writes. In 1855, Scott made it possible for Carnegie to invest $500 in the Adams Express, which contracted with the Pennsylvania to carry its messengers. The money was secured by the act of his mother placing a $500 mortgage on the family's $700 home, but the opportunity was only available because of Carnegie's close relationship with Scott. A few years later, he received a few shares in T.T. Woodruff's sleeping car company, as a reward for holding shares that Woodruff had given to Scott and Thomson, as a payoff. Reinvesting his returns in such inside investments in railroad-related industries: (iron, bridges, and rails), Carnegie slowly accumulated capital, the basis for his later success. Throughout his later career, he made use of his close connection to Thomson and Scott as he established businesses that supplied rails and bridges to the railroad, offering the two men a stake in his enterprises.

1860–1865:The Civil War

Before the Civil War, Carnegie arranged a merger between Woodruff's company and that of George M Pullman, the inventor of a sleeping car for first-class travel which facilitated business travel at distances over . The investment proved a great success and a source of profit for Woodruff and Carnegie. The young Carnegie continued to work for the Pennsylvania's Tom Scott, and introduced several improvements in the service.

In spring 1861, Carnegie was appointed by Scott, who was now Assistant Secretary of War in charge of military transportation, as Superintendent of the Military Railways and the Union Government's telegraph lines in the East. Carnegie helped open the rail lines into Washington that the rebels had cut; he rode the locomotive pulling the first brigade of Union troops to reach Washington. Following the defeat of Union forces at Bull Runmarker, he personally supervised the transportation of the defeated forces. Under his organization, the telegraph service rendered efficient service to the Union cause and significantly assisted in the eventual victory. Carnegie later joked that he was "the first casualty of the war" when he gained a scar on his cheek from freeing a trapped telegraph wire.

Defeat of the Confederacy required vast supplies of munitions, as well as railroads (and telegraph lines) to deliver the goods. The war demonstrated how integral the industries were to American success.

In 1864, Carnegie invested $40,000 in Storey Farm on Oil Creek in Venango County, Pennsylvaniamarker. In one year, the farm yielded over $1,000,000 in cash dividends, and petroleum from oil wells on the property sold profitably. The demand for iron products, such as armor for gunboats, cannon, and shells, as well as a hundred other industrial products, made Pittsburgh a center of wartime production. Carnegie worked with others in establishing a steel rolling mill and steel production and control of industry became the source of his fortune. Carnegie had some investments in the iron industry before the war.

After the war, Carnegie left the railroads to devote all his energies to the ironworks trade. Carnegie worked to develop several iron works, eventually forming The Keystone Bridge Works and the Union Ironworks, in Pittsburgh. Although he had left the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, he remained closely connected to its management, namely Thomas A. Scott and J. Edgar Thomson. He used his connection to the two men to acquire contracts for his Keystone Bridge Company and the rails produced by his ironworks. He also gave stock to Scott and Thomson in his businesses, and the Pennsylvania was his best customer. When he built his first steel plant, he made a point of naming it after Thomson. As well as having good business sense, Carnegie possessed charm and literary knowledge. He was invited to many important social functions—functions that Carnegie exploited to his own advantage.
Carnegie, circa 1878

Carnegie believed in using his fortune for others and doing more than making money. He wrote:

1880–1900: Scholar and activist

Carnegie continued his business career; some of his literary intentions were fulfilled. He befriended English poet Matthew Arnold and English philosopher Herbert Spencer as well as being in correspondence and acquaintance with most of the U.S. Presidents, statesmen, and notable writers.

Carnegie erected commodious swimming-baths for the people of his hometown in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1879. In the following year, Carnegie gave $40,000 for the establishment of a free library in Dunfermline. In 1884, he gave $50,000 to Bellevue Hospital Medical College (now part of New York University Medical Center) to found a histological laboratory, now called the Carnegie Laboratory.

In 1881, Carnegie took his family, including his 70 year-old mother, on a trip to the United Kingdommarker. They toured Scotland by coach, and enjoyed several receptions en-route. The highlight for them all was a triumphal return to his native town of Dunfermline, where Carnegie's mother laid the foundation stone of a Carnegie Library for which he donated the money. Carnegie's criticism of British society did not mean dislike; on the contrary, one of Carnegie's ambitions was to act as a catalyst for a close association between the English-speaking peoples. To this end, in the early 1880s, he purchased numerous newspapers in England, all of which were to advocate the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of "the British Republic". Carnegie's charm aided by his great wealth meant that he had many British friends, including Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

In 1886, Andrew Carnegie's younger brother Thomas died at age 43. Success in the business continued, however. While owning steel works, Carnegie had purchased at low cost the most valuable of the iron ore fields around Lake Superiormarker. The same year Carnegie became a figure of controversy. Following his tour of the UK, he wrote about his experiences in a book entitled An American Four-in-hand in Britain. Although still actively involved in running his many businesses, Carnegie had become a regular contributor to numerous magazines, most notably the Nineteenth Century, under the editorship of James Knowles, and the influential North American Review, led by editor Lloyd Bryce.

In 1886 Carnegie wrote his most radical work to date, entitled Triumphant Democracy. Liberal in its use of statistics to make its arguments, the book argued his view that the American republican system of government was superior to the British monarchical system. It gave a highly favorable and idealized view of American progress and criticized the British royal family. The cover depicted an upended royal crown and a broken scepter. The book created considerable controversy in the UK. The book made many Americans appreciate their country's economic progress and sold over 40,000 copies, mostly in the U.S.

In 1889, Carnegie published "Wealth" in the June issue of the North American Review. After reading it, Gladstone requested its publication in England, where it appeared as "The Gospel of Wealth" in the Pall Mall Gazette. The article was the subject of much discussion. Carnegie argued that the life of a wealthy industrialist should comprise two parts. The first part was the gathering and the accumulation of wealth. The second part was for the subsequent distribution of this wealth to benevolent causes. The philanthropy was key to making the life worthwhile.

Carnegie was also known to be a great journalist. This came about from his experience in constantly writing to newspapers and to their editors. His knowledge in reading newspapers stems from a habit from his childhood. He also would go on to publish three books on travel. One of them entitled "Round the world" he began writing while traveling England and Scotland.

In 1898, Carnegie tried to arrange for independence for the Philippinesmarker. As the end of the Spanish American War neared, the United Statesmarker bought the Philippines from Spainmarker for $20 million USD. To counter what he perceived as imperialism on the part of the United States, Carnegie personally offered $20 million USD to the Philippines so that the Filipino people could buy their independence from the United States. However, nothing came of this gesture and the Philippine-American War ensued.

Carnegie opposed the annexation of Cubamarker by the United States and in this, was successful with many other conservatives who founded an anti-imperialist league that included former presidents of the United States, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, and literary figures like Mark Twain.


1885–1900: Empire of Steel

Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry, controlling the most extensive integrated iron and steel operations ever owned by an individual in the United States. One of his two great innovations was in the cheap and efficient mass production of steel rails for railroad lines. The second was in his vertical integration of all suppliers of raw materials. In the late 1880s, Carnegie Steel was the largest manufacturer of pig iron, steel rails, and coke in the world, with a capacity to produce approximately 2,000 tons of pig metal per day. In 1888, Carnegie bought the rival Homestead Steel Works, which included an extensive plant served by tributary coal and iron fields, a 425-mile (685 km) long railway, and a line of lake steamships. Carnegie combined his assets and those of his associates in 1892 with the launching of the Carnegie Steel Company.

By 1889, the U.S.marker output of steel exceeded that of the UK, and Carnegie owned a large part of it. Carnegie's empire grew to include the J.marker Edgar Thomson Steel Worksmarker, (named for John Edgar Thomson, Carnegie's former boss and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad), Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Works, the Lucy Furnaces, the Union Iron Mills, the Union Mill (Wilson, Walker & County), the Keystone Bridge Works, the Hartman Steel Works, the Frick Coke Company, and the Scotia ore mines. Carnegie, through Keystone, supplied the steel for and owned shares in the landmark Eads Bridgemarker project across the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missourimarker (completed 1874). This project was an important proof-of-concept for steel technology, which marked the opening of a new steel market.

1901: U.S. Steel

In 1901, Carnegie was 66 years of age and considering retirement. He reformed his enterprises into conventional joint stock corporations as preparation to this end. John Pierpont Morgan was a banker and perhaps America's most important financial deal maker. He had observed how efficiently Carnegie produced profit. He envisioned an integrated steel industry that would cut costs, lower prices to consumers, produce in greater quantities and raise wages to workers. To this end, he needed to buy out Carnegie and several other major producers and integrate them into one company, thereby eliminating duplication and waste. He concluded negotiations on 2 March 1901, and formed the United States Steel Corporation. It was the first corporation in the world with a market capitalization over $1 billion.

The buyout, secretly negotiated by Charles M. Schwab (no relation to Charles R. Schwab), was the largest such industrial takeover in United States history to date. The holdings were incorporated in the United States Steel Corporation, a trust organized by Morgan, and Carnegie retired from business. His steel enterprises were bought out at a figure equivalent to twelve times their annual earnings—$480 million (approximately $10.3 billion in 2003 prices- according to Gale Virtual Reference Library)—which at the time was the largest ever personal commercial transaction.

Carnegie's share of this amounted to $225,639,000, which was paid to Carnegie in the form of 5%, 50-year gold bonds. The letter agreeing to sell his share was signed on 26 February 1901. On 2 March, the circular formally filing the organization and capitalization (at $1,400,000,000—4% of U.S. national wealth at the time) of the United States Steel Corporation actually completed the contract. The bonds were to be delivered within two weeks to the Hudson Trust Company of Hoboken, New Jerseymarker, in trust to Robert A. Franks, Carnegie's business secretary. There, a special vault was built to house the physical bulk of nearly $230,000,000 worth of bonds. It was said that "...Carnegie never wanted to see or touch these bonds that represented the fruition of his business career. It was as if he feared that if he looked upon them they might vanish like the gossamer gold of the leprechaun. Let them lie safe in a vault in New Jersey, safe from the New York tax assessors, until he was ready to dispose of them..."


1901–1919: Philanthropist

Carnegie spent his last years as a philanthropist. From 1901 forward, public attention was turned from the shrewd business acumen which had enabled Carnegie to accumulate such a fortune, to the public-spirited way in which he devoted himself to utilizing it on philanthropic projects. He had written about his views on social subjects and the responsibilities of great wealth in Triumphant Democracy (1886) and Gospel of Wealth (1889). Carnegie bought Skibo Castlemarker, in Sutherlandmarker, Scotlandmarker, and made his home partly there and partly in New York. He then devoted his life to providing the capital for purposes of public interest and social and educational advancement.

He was a powerful supporter of the movement for spelling reform as a means of promoting the spread of the English language.

Among his many philanthropic efforts, the establishment of public libraries throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries was especially prominent. Carnegie libraries, as they were commonly called, were built in many places. The first was opened in 1883 in Dunfermline, Scotland. His method was to build and equip, but only on condition that the local authority matched that by providing the land and a budget for operation and maintenance. To secure local interest, in 1885, he gave $500,000 to Pittsburgh for a public library, and in 1886, he gave $250,000 to Allegheny City for a music hall and library; and $250,000 to Edinburghmarker, Scotland, for a free library. In total Carnegie funded some 3,000 libraries, located in 47 US states, and also in Canadamarker, the United Kingdommarker, the Republic of Irelandmarker, Australia, New Zealandmarker, the West Indiesmarker, and Fijimarker. He also donated £50,000 to help set up the University of Birminghammarker in 1899.
As VanSlyck (1991) showed, the last years of the 19th century saw acceptance of the idea that free libraries should be available to the American public. But the design of the idealized free library was the subject of prolonged and heated debate. On one hand, the library profession called for designs that supported efficiency in administration and operation; on the other, wealthy philanthropists favored buildings that reinforced the paternalistic metaphor and enhanced civic pride. Between 1886 and 1917, Carnegie reformed both library philanthropy and library design, encouraging a closer correspondence between the two.

The Broome County Public Library in New York opened in October 1904. Originally called the Binghamton Public Library, it was created with a gift of $75,000 from Andrew Carnegie. The building was designed to serve as both a public library and a community center.

He gave $2 million in 1901 to start the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) at Pittsburgh, and the same amount in 1902 to found the Carnegie Institution at Washington, D.C. He later contributed more to these and other schools. CIT is now part of Carnegie Mellon Universitymarker. Carnegie served on the Board of Cornell Universitymarker.

In 1911, Andrew Carnegie became a sympathetic benefactor to George Ellery Hale, who was trying to build the 100 inch (2.5 m) Hooker telescope at Mount Wilsonmarker, and donated an additional ten million dollars to the Carnegie Institution with the following suggestion to expedite the construction of the telescope: "I hope the work at Mount Wilson will be vigorously pushed, because I am so anxious to hear the expected results from it. I should like to be satisfied before I depart, that we are going to repay to the old land some part of the debt we owe them by revealing more clearly than ever to them the new heavens." The telescope saw first light on November 2, 1917, with Carnegie still alive.

In Scotland, he gave $10 million in 1901 to establish the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, a fund to assist education at Scottish universities. He was subsequently elected Lord Rector of University of St. Andrewsmarker. He also donated large sums of money to Dunfermline, the place of his birth. In addition to a library, Carnegie also bought the private estate which became Pittencrieff Parkmarker and opened it to all members of the public, establishing the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust to benefit the people of Dunfermline. A statue of him stands there today. He gave a further $10 million in 1913 to endow the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, a grant-making foundation.

Carnegie also established large pension funds in 1901 for his former employees at Homestead and, in 1905, for American college professors. The latter fund evolved into TIAA-CREF. One critical requirement was that church-related schools had to sever their religious connections to get his money.

His interest in music led him to fund construction of 7,000 church organs. He built and owned Carnegie Hallmarker in New York Citymarker.

Carnegie was a large benefactor of the Tuskegee Institutemarker under Booker T. Washington for African-American education. He helped Booker T. Washington create the National Negro Business League.

He founded the Carnegie Hero Fund for the United States and Canada in 1904 (a few years later also established in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany) for the recognition of deeds of heroism. Carnegie contributed $1,500,000 in 1903 for the erection of the Peace Palacemarker at The Haguemarker; and he donated $150,000 for a Pan-American Palace in Washington as a home for the International Bureau of American Republics.

Carnegie was honored for his philanthropy and support of the arts by initiation as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity on October 14, 1917 at the New England Conservatory of Musicmarker in Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker. The fraternity's mission reflects Carnegie's values by developing young men to share their talents to create harmony in the world.

By the standards of 19th century tycoons, Carnegie was not a particularly ruthless man but a Christian humanitarian with enough acquisitiveness to go in the ruthless pursuit of money; on the other hand, the contrast between his life and the lives of many of his own workers and of the poor, in general, was stark. "Maybe with the giving away of his money," commented biographer Joseph Wall, "he would justify what he had done to get that money."

Andrew Carnegie represents to some what is the idea of the American dream. He was an immigrant from Scotland who came to America and became successful. He is not only known for his successes but his enormous amounts of philanthropist works, not only to charities but also to promote democracy and independence to colonized countries.


Carnegie died on 11 August 1919 in Lenox, Massachusettsmarker of bronchial pneumonia. He had already given away $350,695,653 (approximately $4.3 billion, adjusted to 2005 figures) of his wealth. At his death, his last $30,000,000 was given to foundations, charities, and to pensioners. He was buried at the Sleepy Hollow Cemeterymarker in North Tarrytown, New Yorkmarker. The grave site is located on the Arcadia Hebron plot of land at the corner of Summit Avenue and Dingle Road.


1889: Johnstown Flood

Carnegie was one of more than 50 members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, which was blamed for the Johnstown Floodmarker that killed more than 2,200 people in 1889.

At the suggestion of his friend Benjamin Ruff, Carnegie's partner Henry Clay Frick had formed the exclusive South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club high above Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The charter members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club were: Benjamin Ruff; T. H. Sweat; Charles J. Clarke; Thomas Clark; Walter F. Fundenberg; Howard Hartley; Henry C. Yeager; J. B. White; Henry Clay Frick; E. A. Myers; C. C. Hussey; D. R. Ewer; C. A. Carpenter; W. L. Dunn; W. L. McClintock; and A. V. Holmes.

The sixty-odd club members were the leading business tycoons of Western Pennsylvania and included among their number Frick’s best friend, Andrew Mellon, his attorneys Philander Knox and James Hay Reed, as well as Frick's business partner Andrew Carnegie. The Club members created what would then be the world's largest earthen dam, behind which formed a private lake called Lake Conemaugh. Less than 20 miles downstream from the dam sat the city of Johnstown, and Carnegie Steel's chief competitor (from whom Carnegie had hired away steelmaking expert Bill Jones), the Cambria Iron and Steel Company, which boasted the world's largest annual steel production.

Poor maintenance, unusually high snowmelt and heavy spring rains combined to cause the dam to give way on May 31, 1889 resulting in the Johnstown Floodmarker. When word of the dam's failure was telegraphed to Pittsburgh, Frick and other members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club gathered to form the Pittsburgh Relief Committee for assistance to the flood victims as well as determining never to speak publicly about the club or the flood. This strategy was a success, and Knox and Reed were able to fend off all lawsuits that would have placed blame upon the club’s members.

Although Cambria Iron and Steel's facilities were heavily damaged by the flood, they returned to full production within a year and a half. By that time, Carnegie's steel production had outstripped Cambria's. After the flood, Carnegie built Johnstown a new library to replace the one built by Cambria's chief legal counsel Cyrus Elder, which was destroyed in the flood. The Carnegie-donated library is now owned by the Johnstown Area Heritage Association, and houses the Flood Museum.

1892: Homestead Strike

The Homestead Strike
The Homestead Strike was a bloody labor confrontation lasting 143 days in 1892, one of the most serious in U.S. history. The conflict was centered around Carnegie Steel's main plant in Homestead, Pennsylvaniamarker, and grew out of a dispute between the National Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers of the United States and the Carnegie Steel Company.

Carnegie left on a trip to Scotland before the unrest peaked. In doing so, Carnegie left mediation of the dispute in the hands of his associate and partner Henry Clay Frick. Frick was well known in industrial circles for maintaining staunch anti-union sensibilities.

After a recent increase in profits by 60%, the company refused to raise worker's pay by more than 30%. When some of the workers demanded the full 60%, management locked the union out. Workers considered the stoppage a "lockout" by management and not a "strike" by workers. As such, the workers would have been well within their rights to protest, and subsequent government action would have been a set of criminal procedures designed to crush what was seen as a pivotal demonstration of the growing labor rights movement, strongly opposed by management. Frick brought in thousands of strikebreakers to work the steel mills and Pinkerton agents to safeguard them.

On 6 July, the arrival of a force of 300 Pinkerton agents from New York City and Chicagomarker resulted in a fight in which 10 men—seven strikers and three Pinkertons—were killed and hundreds were injured. Pennsylvania Governor Robert Pattison ordered two brigades of state militia to the strike site. Then, allegedly in response to the fight between the striking workers and the Pinkertons, anarchist Alexander Berkman shot at Frick in an attempted assassination, wounding Frick. While not directly connected to the strike, Berkman was tied in for the assassination attempt. According to Berkman, "...with the elimination of Frick, responsibility for Homestead conditions would rest with Carnegie." Afterwards, the company successfully resumed operations with non-union immigrant employees in place of the Homestead plant workers, and Carnegie returned to the United States. However, Carnegie's reputation was permanently damaged by the Homestead events.


Andrew Carnegie Dictum

A) To spend the first third of one's life getting all the education one can.

B) To spend the next third making all the money one can.

C) To spend the last third giving it all away for worthwhile causes.

On wealth

Carnegie at Skibo Castle, 1914
As early as 1868, at age 33, he drafted a memo to himself. He wrote: "...The amassing of wealth is one of the worse species of idolatry. No idol more debasing than the worship of money."In order to avoid degrading himself, he wrote in the same memo he would retire at age 35 to pursue the practice of philanthropic giving for "...the man who dies thus rich dies disgraced." However, he did not begin his philanthropic work in all earnest until 1881, with the gift of a library to his hometown of Dunfermline, Scotland.

Carnegie wrote "The Gospel of Wealth", an article in which he stated his belief that the rich should use their wealth to help enrich society.

The following is taken from one of Carnegie's memos to himself:

In 1908, he commissioned (at no pay) Napoleon Hill, then a journalist, to interview more than 500 wealthy achievers to find out the common threads of their success. Hill eventually became a Carnegie collaborator. Their work was published in 1928 after Carnegie's death in Hill's book The Law of Success (ISBN 0-87980-447-5) and in 1937, Think and Grow Rich (ISBN 1-59330-200-2). The latter has not been out of print since it was first published and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. In 1960, Hill published an abridged version of the book containing the Andrew Carnegie formula for wealth creation. For years it was the only version generally available. In 2004, Ross Cornwell published Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised (Second Printing 2007), which restored the book to its original content, with slight revisions, and added comprehensive end notes, an index, and an appendix.

Religion and world view

Witnessing the sectarianism and strife in 19th century Scotland regarding religion and philosophy, Carnegie kept his distance from organized religion and theism. Carnegie instead preferred to see things through naturalistic and scientific terms stating, "Not only had I got rid of the theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution."

Carnegie eventually came to identify himself as a positivist. He held much hope for humanity in what may be termed a humanistic view on life, shaped also by the Scottish values with which he was raised. After the outbreak of the First World War and its slaughter, Carnegie underwent a crisis of ideology in his positivist views.

Later in life, Carnegie's firm opposition to religion softened. While he never professed belief in a particular religion, he did accompany his wife and daughter to church. He also prepared (but did not deliver) an address to St. Andrews in which he professed a belief in "an Infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed".

World peace

Influenced by his "favorite living hero in public life", the British liberal, John Bright, Carnegie started his efforts in pursuit of world peace at a young age. His motto, "All is well since all grows better", served not only as a good rationalisation of his successful business career but also in his view of international relations.

Despite his love and efforts towards international peace, Carnegie faced many dilemmas on his quest for world peace. These dilemmas are often regarded as conflicts between his view on international relations and his other loyalties. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, by example, Carnegie allowed his steel works to fill large orders of armour plate for the building of an enlarged and modernized United States Navy; while he opposed American oversea expansion. And he also had controversial criticisms of the British class structure which seemed to conflict with his promotion of Anglo-American friendship.

On the matter of American annexation, Carnegie had always thought it is an unwise gesture for the United States. He did not oppose the annexation of the Hawaiian islands, Cuba and Puerto Rico, but Carnegie stood still on his opposition towards the annexation of the Philippines. Because unlike the Hawaiians, Cubans and Puerto Ricans, the Filipinos were willing to fight for their independence, Carnegie believed that the conquest of the islands is a denial of the fundamental democratic principle, and he also urged William McKinley to withdraw American troops and allow the Filipinos to live with their independence. This act well impressed the other American anti-imperialists, who soon elected him vice-president of the Anti-Imperialist League.

After he sold his steel company in 1901, Carnegie was able to get fully involved into the acts for the peace cause, both financially and personally. He gave away most of his fortunes to various peace keeping agencies in order to keep them growing. When his friend, the British publicist William T. Stead, asked him to create a new organisation for the goal of a peace and arbitration society, his reply was as such:

Carnegie believed that it is the effort and will of the people that maintains the peace in international relations. Money is just a push for the act; if it solely depended on financial support, world peace would not seem a goal, but more like an act of pity.

The creation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace at 1910 was regarded as a milestone on the road to the ultimate abolition of war. Despite a gift of $10 million for peace promotion, Carnegie also encourage the "scientific" investigation of the various causes of war and the adoption of judicial methods that would eventually eliminate them. He believes that the Endowment is there to promote information on the nations' rights and responsibilities under existing international law and encourage other conferences to codify this law.

In 1914, on the eve of the First World War, Carnegie founded the Church Peace Union (CPU), a group of leaders in religion, academia, and politics. Through the CPU, Carnegie hoped to mobilise the world's churches, religious organisations, and other spiritual and moral resources to join in promoting moral leadership to put an end to war forever. For its inaugural international event, the CPU sponsored a conference to be held on August 1, 1914, on the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany. As the delegates made their way to the conference by train, Germany was invading Belgium.

Despite its inauspicious beginning, the CPU thrived. Today its focus is on ethics and it is known as the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organisation, whose mission is to be the voice for ethics in international affairs.

The outbreak of the First World War was clearly a shock to Carnegie and his optimistic view on world peace. Although his promotion of anti-imperialism and world peace had all failed, and the Carnegie Endowment had not fulfilled his expectations; but his beliefs and ideas on international relations had helped build the foundation of the League of Nations after his death, which took world peace to another level.


Carnegie was a frequent contributor to periodicals on labor issues. In addition to Triumphant Democracy (1886), and The Gospel of Wealth (1889), he also wrote An American Four-in-hand in Britain (1883), Round the World (1884), The Empire of Business (1902), The Secret of Business is the Management of Men (1903), James Watt (1905), Problems of Today (1907), and his posthumously published autobiography Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (1920).

Legacy and honors

  • The dinosaur Diplodocus carnegiei (Hatcher) was named for Andrew Carnegie after he sponsored the expedition that discovered its remains in the Morrison Formation (Jurassic) of Utahmarker. Carnegie was so proud of “Dippi” that he had casts made of the bones and plaster replicas of the whole skeleton donated to several museums in Europe. The original fossil skeleton is assembled and stands in the Hall of Dinosaurs at the Carnegie Museum of Natural Historymarker in Pittsburgh.
  • After the Spanish American War, Carnegie offered to donate $20 million USD to the Philippinesmarker so they could buy their independence.
  • Carnegie, Pennsylvaniamarker, and Carnegie, Oklahomamarker, were named in his honor.
  • The Saguaro cactus's scientific name, Carnegiea, is named after him.
  • The Carnegie Medal for the best children's literature published in the UK was established in his name.
  • The Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education, at Leeds Metropolitan Universitymarker, UK, is named after him. This has filtered out to include the Carnegie Challenge Cup, and it seems likely, in September 2009, that the university will be renamed 'Leeds Carnegie University'.
  • Carnegie Hallmarker in New Yorkmarker was named after Andrew Carnegie in his lifetime.
  • At the height of his career, Carnegie was the second-richest person in the world, behind only John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil.
  • Lauder College (named after his uncle who encouraged him to get an education) in the Halbeth area of Dunfermline was renamed Carnegie College in 2007 in his honor.

Andrew Carnegie's personal papers reside at the Library of Congressmarker Manuscript Division.The Carnegie Collections of the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library consist of the archives of the following organizations founded by Andrew Carnegie: The Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY); The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP); the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT);The Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA). These collections deal primarily with Carnegie philanthropy and have very little personal material related to Mr. Carnegie.

See also


  1. MacKay Little Boss: A life of Andrew Carnegie p.29.
  2. MacKay Little Boss: A life of Andrew Carnegie pp.23-24.
  3. MacKay Little Boss:A life of Andrew Carnegie pp.37-38.
  4. Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie p. 34
  5. Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie p. 37
  6. Nasaw, David, Andrew Carnegie (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006), pp. 54-59, 64–65.
  7. Nasaw, pp. 59-60.
  8. Nasaw, pp. 59-60; Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie p. 79
  9. Nasaw, pp. 59-60, 85-88, 102-104, 107.
  10. Nasaw, pp. 105-107.
  11. John K. Winkler Incredible Carnegie, p. 172, Read Books, 2006 ISBN 978-1406729467
  12. John K. Winkler Incredible Carnegie, p. 13, Read Books, 2006 ISBN 978-1406729467
  13. Swetnam, George (1980) Andrew Carnegie. Twayne Publishers.
  14. Livesay, Harold (2000) "Andrew Carnegie and the rise of big business". Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers.(
  15. Andrew Carnegie timeline of events at
  16. Robert P. Porter Industrial Cuba, p. 43, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1899
  17. Katherine Hirschfeld Health, Politics and Revolution in Cuba, p. 117, Transaction Publishers, 2008 ISBN 978-1412808637
  18. Industrial Cuba
  19. The Carnegie Committee, Cornell Alumni News, II(10), 29 November 1899, p. 6
  20. History of Mount Wilson Observatory - Building the 100-Inch Telescope. Article was written by Mike Simmons in 1984 for the Mount Wilson Observatory Association (MWOA)
  21. Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
  22. Carnegie United Kingdom Trust website
  23. Paul Krause The Battle for Homestead 1880-1892, p. 233, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992 ISBN 978-0822954668
  24. The American Experience | Andrew Carnegie | Program Description
  25. Swetnam, George. (1980) Twayne Publishers.
  26. Alexander Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, p. 67, Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1912
  27. Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist by Alexander Berkman
  28. Robert A. Cole Issues in Web-based Pedagogies, p. 4, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001 ISBN 978-0313321580
  29. Maury Klein The Change Makers, p. 57, Macmillan, 2004 ISBN 978-0805075182
  30. Dwight Burlingame Philanthropy in America, p. 60, ABC-CLIO, 2004 ISBN 978-1576078600
  31. Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie pp. 255-67
  32. Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006)
  33. Carnegie, Andrew. Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (1920, 2006). ISBN 1-59986-967-5 (p. 339)
  34. Carnegie, Andrew. Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (Boston, 1920), Ch. 21, pp. 282-283
  35. Carnegie, Andrew. An American Four-in-Hand in Britain (New York, 1883), pp. 14-15
  36. Carnegie, Andrew. Triumphant Democracy, passim
  37. Carnegie, Andrew. "American Versus Imperialism," esp. pp.12-13
  38. Patterson, David S. Andrew Carnegie's Quest for World Peace. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 114, No. 5 (October 20, 1970), pp. 371-383
  39. Carnegie, Andrew (1903). The Secret of Business is the Management of Men

Further reading

Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • Josephson; Matthew. The Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists, 1861-1901 (1938, 1987). ISBN 99918-47-99-5.
  • Morris, Charles R. The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy (2005). ISBN 0-8050-7599-2.
  • Krass, Peter. Carnegie (2002). ISBN 0-471-38630-8.
  • Lester, Robert M. (1941) Forty Years of Carnegie Giving: A Summary of the Benefactions of Andrew Carnegie and of the Work of the Philanthropic Trusts Which He Created. New York: C. Scribner's Sons.
  • Livesay, Harold C. Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business, 2nd Edition (1999). short biography ISBN 0-321-43287-8.
  • Lorenzen, Michael. (1999). Deconstructing the Carnegie Libraries: The Sociological Reasons Behind Carnegie's Millions to Public Libraries. Illinois Libraries 81, no. 2, 75-78.
  • Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006), along with Wall the most detailed scholarly biography
  • Patterson, David S. "Andrew Carnegie's Quest for World Peace" Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 114, No. 5 (October 20, 1970), pp. 371–383
  • Rees, Jonathan. "Homestead in Context: Andrew Carnegie and the Decline of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers." Pennsylvania History 1997 64(4): 509-533. Issn: 0031-4528
  • Ritt Jr., Michael J., and Landers, Kirk. A Lifetime of Riches. ISBN 0-525-94146-0.
  • VanSlyck, Abigail A. "'The Utmost Amount of Effective Accommodation': Andrew Carnegie and the Reform of the American Library." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1991 50(4): 359-383. Issn: 0037-9808 Fulltext: in Jstor
  • Wall, Joseph Frazier. Andrew Carnegie (1989). ISBN 0-8229-5904-6. along with Nasaw the most detailed scholarly biography
  • Whaples, Robert. "Andrew Carnegie", EH.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History.

External links

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