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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Andrew Carnegie, Atlanta benefactor

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Atlanta should be grateful to Andrew Carnegie's contribution to its society of his extensive library. He is the epitome of the American dream.  Andrew was born in Dunermline, Scotland in 1835.  He was the son of a handloom weaver.  The family emigrated to America in 1848 during a severe economic depression. They joined a Scottish colony at Allegheny near Pittsburgh.  It was there that Andrew began working at the age of twelve years in a local cotton factory while continuing his education at night school. Two years later the ambitious boy was working as a
messenger boy in the local Pittsburgh Telegraph Office and was noticed by Thomas A. Scott, the superintendent of the western division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He made Carnegie his secretary and later during the War Between the States, took Andrew with him to Washington where Andrew helped to organize the military telegraph system. Ultimately, Andrew invested in the Pennsylvania Railroad, iron mills and factories. He owned the Carnegie Steele Company in the Pittsburgh area. IHe wrote several books and in June of 1889, the North American Review published an article by Carnegie on what he called the "Gospel of Wealth". In the article Carnegie argued that it was the duty of rich men and women to use their wealth to benefit the welfare of the community. He wrote that a "man who dies rich dies disgraced". 
Carnegie set up a trust fund "for the improvement of mankind." This included the building of 3,000 public libraries (380 in Britain), the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Institution of Washington for research into the natural and physical sciences. Carnegie also established the Endowment for International Peace in an effort to prevent future wars. 

By the time Andrew Carnegie died in August, 1919, he had given away $350,000,000. A further $125 million was placed with the Carnegie Corporation to carry on his good works.
The Carnegie genealogy and family history is available to members of Georgia Pioneers