ANDREW CARNEGIE (1835-1919) No story-book hero ever had a more romantic history than this great ironmaster and philanthropist. At the age of 10 he was a poor bobbin-boy in a cotton factory. Fifty years later, a self-made multimillion aire, he was engaged in the unique business of giving away his vast fortune in accordance with his belief that "the man who dies possessed of wealth which he was free to distribute, dies disgraced." Andrew Carnegie was born at Dunfermline near Edinburgh, Scotland, at a time when machines and the factory system were displacing the old household manufacture of woolen cloths. His father, an old time hand-weaver, removed to the United States, where he found work for himself and his son in a cot ton mill near Pittsburgh. The death of the father left the lad at 16 to support his mother and younger brother from the slender salary of a telegraph mes senger boy.
Self-taught, he soon became an operator, then train dispatcher, and later, secretary to the general super intendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Adding his scanty savings to borrowed money, he invested in the first company to manufacture sleeping cars, which were soon adopted by the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The dividends from this investment were put into oil lands, and thus his career as a capitalist began.
The outbreak of the Civil War found Carnegie the superintendent of the Pittsburgh division of the any single purpose was for establishing public libraries. This was the outcome of a boyish resolu tion to imitate a public-spirited man who had opened his private library to the mill-boys of his early Pennsylvania home. He also created a Hero Fund for rewarding such deeds of heroism as might other wise receive only slight appreciation.
But the greater part of his vast fortune he dis tributed for various educational and scientific pur poses, such as gifts to existing colleges and universities, endowments for new institutions like the Carnegie Institute of Technology at Pittsburgh, and for improv ing college and university teaching by providing a pen sion fund for such teachers. He further provided for the permanency of these educational benevolences by establishing the Carnegie Corporation with a fund of $125,000,000, to be used as its trustees saw fit.
The great task he had set himself, too, was but partially accomplished when in 1919 Mr. Carnegie was overtaken by death. According to a statement issued at that time, his gifts since 1901 were as follows: Pennsylvania system. He gave up this post to take charge of the eastern military railroads and telegraph lines for the government, and was the third man wounded on the Union side, while removing obstruc tions from the Washington tracks. His ability as an
organizer was such that in his department there were no scandals and no breakdowns during the entire time of his service.
The next impor tant step in Car negie's business career was his for mation of the Key stone Bridge Works.
His keen foresight led him to forecast the replacing of the old wooden bridges with iron ones, and his company built the first iron bridge across the Ohio River. This soon led up to the estab lishment of iron mills, and a bit later to the manufacture of steel by the Bessemer process, hitherto unused in America, and which the canny Scot quietly adopted after an observation visit to England.
From this point the story for a time has to do with the way in which, under his magic hand, great plant after plant sprang into existence. Within 25 years of the formation of his first company, Carnegie was able, in 1899, to consolidate" the immense steel works centering about Pittsburgh into the great Carnegie Steel Company. Two years later, at the height of his phenomenal business career, he transferred his steel interests, at a valuation of $500,000,000, to the United States Steel Corporation, and retired from the industrial world to devote his entire attention to a new existence consecrated to public service.
In disposing of his great fortune, the largest ever acquired by a foreign-born American citizen, he was determined to make each gift of the highest possible value to humanity. He held that indiscriminate giv ing is mostly sheer mischief. " No person," he said, "and no community can be permanently helped except by their own cooperation." So each gift usually carried with it stipulations that not only stimulated to greater effort, but also required cooperation from the recipient.
One of the earliest gifts by Mr. Carnegie was to supply pensions and relief for the injured and aged employees of his steel plant. " This," he said, " was only an acknowledgment of the deep debt which I owe to the workmen who have contributed so greatly to my success." The largest sum given by him for For 2,800 libraries $ 60,000,000 Colleges and universities 30,000,000Church organs 6,000,000 Carnegie Corporation 125,000,000 Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching 29,000,000 Carnegie Institute of Technology 13,000,000 Carnegie Institution of Washington (for scien tific research) 22,000,000Carnegie Hero Fund 10,000,000 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace . 10,000,000 Hague Peace Palace 1,500,000 Dunfermline Trust 3,500,000 War grants 2,700,000 Other gifts 37,300,000 Total $350,000,000