Happy Birthday, Andrew Carnegie!

Andrew Carnegie was born in the U.S. on November 25, 1835, to a family of poor Scottish immigrants.  Carnegie retired as the wealthiest man alive and, by his death in 1919, had given away his fortune. Carnegie made his fortune in the Pittsburgh steel industry, and gave it all back to his local community and the global community. Known to some as the “Great Founder of Libraries,” Carnegie donated his money to educational and peace causes.

Carnegie is known for providing funding public libraries; however he also donated to education in other ways. In 1902, with a $10 million donation, he founded the Carnegie Institution to fund scientific research and to provide a pension for teachers. Eventually Carnegie’s fortune went toward funding Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center and Carnegie Mellon University.

In addition to education, he established the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Carnegie used this endowment to fund the building of The Hague Palace of Peace in the Netherlands. The Hague now houses the World Court.

Although Carnegie contributed millions of dollars to science and world peace, he is best known for his contributions to public libraries. Carnegie firmly believed that education was the key to success. He also believed in access to education for everyone. Thus he founded Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library as a free public library. “Free to the People” is even carved in stone over the library’s doors. In addition to the Carnegie Library, he provided funding for more than 2,000 public libraries. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, one of these is Hamburg, Pa.’s, own public library.

Andrew Carnegie died on August 11, 1919. He had already given away $350,695,653 at the time of his death. Upon his death, the remaining $30,000,000 of his fortune was donated to various foundations, charities, and pensions.

To learn more about Andrew Carnegie, check out these books in the Rohrbach Library collection.

-CS

Information take from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and  America’s Library.

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