One of his lifelong interests was the establishment of free public libraries to make available to everyone a means of self-education.
There were only a few public libraries in the world when, in , Carnegie began to promote his idea. Carnegie set about disposing of his fortune through innumerable personal gifts and through the establishment of various trusts. Each of the organizations established by Andrew Carnegie has its own funds and trustees and is independently managed.
Carnegie Corporation of New York , founded in "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," is the largest and the most broad in scope of the Carnegie philanthropic organizations. Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs , founded in as The Church Peace Union , is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education in the field of ethics and international affairs.
The trust maintains the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace , founded in , is a nonprofit organization, conducting programs of research, discussion, education and publication on international affairs and U. The Carnegie Foundation is the owner of the Peace Palace at the Hague, which was founded in with a gift of over one million dollars from Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching , founded in as the teachers pension fund, is a private operating foundation primarily engaged in education policy studies. Carnegie Hero Fund Commission , established in , for recognition of heroic acts performed in peaceful walks of life in the United States and Canada.
Andrew Carnegie: Early Life and Career
The Carnegie Hero Fund Trust , established in , for recognition of heroic acts performed in peaceful walks of life in Great Britain and Ireland. The fund in Germany is no longer active. Carnegie Institution of Washington , founded in , conducts scientific research, primarily in astronomy, biology, and the earth sciences, and related educational activities. If you washed your face and hands they were as dirty as ever in an hour.
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The soot gathered in the hair and irritated the skin, and for a time But if Pittsburgh had become a focus of unrestrained capitalism, it also drove the American economy. And to the men who ran them, the city's industries meant not just dirty air and water, but progress.
Pittsburgh's furnaces symbolized a world roaring toward the future, spurred onward by American ingenuity and omnipotent technology. William Carnegie secured work in a cotton factory. He did each job to the best of his ability and seized every opportunity to take on new responsibilities.
He memorized Pittsburgh's street layout as well as the names and addresses of the important people he delivered to. Carnegie often was asked to deliver messages to the theater. He arranged to make these deliveries at night--and stayed on to watch plays by Shakespeare and other great playwrights. In what would be a life-long pursuit of knowledge, Carnegie also took advantage of a small library that a local benefactor made available to working boys.
One of the men Carnegie met at the telegraph office was Thomas A. Scott, then beginning his impressive career at Pennsylvania Railroad.
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At the outbreak of the Civil War, Scott was hired to supervise military transportation for the North, and Carnegie worked as his right hand man. The Civil War fueled the iron industry, and by the time the war was over, Carnegie saw the potential in the field and resigned from Pennsylvania Railroad. It was one of many bold moves that would typify Carnegie's life in industry and earn him his fortune. He then turned his attention to founding the Keystone Bridge Company in , where he focused on replacing wooden bridges with stronger iron ones.
But his wealth troubled him, as did the ghosts of his radical past. He expressed his uneasiness with the businessman's life, promising that he would stop working in two years and pursue a life of good works: "To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my thoughts wholly upon the way to make more money in the shortest time, must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery.
I will resign business at thirty-five, but during the ensuing two years I wish to spend the afternoons in receiving instruction and in reading systematically. Making Money and Starting a Family Carnegie would continue making unparalleled amounts of money for the next 30 years. Two years after he wrote that letter Carnegie would embrace a new steel refining process being used by Englishman Henry Bessemer to convert huge batches of iron into steel, which was much more flexible than brittle iron.
Carnegie threw his own money into the process and even borrowed heavily to build a new steel plant near Pittsburgh in Carnegie was ruthless in keeping down costs and managed by the motto "watch costs, and the profits take care of themselves.
In , Carnegie, at age 45, began courting Louise Whitfield, age Nearly 70 years old, Margaret Carnegie had long been accustomed to her son's complete attention. He adored her. They shared a suite at New York's Windsor Hotel, and she often accompanied him -- even to business meetings. Some have hinted that she exacted a promise from Carnegie that he remain a bachelor during her lifetime. Louise was the daughter of a well-to-do New York merchant and a semi-invalid mother.
Andrew Carnegie on “The Triumph of America” (1885)
Like Carnegie, Louise was devoted to her mother, who required constant medical attention. Unlike Margaret Carnegie, however, Mrs.
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Whitfield encouraged her daughter to spend time with her suitor. Carnegie's mother meanwhile did her best to undermine the relationship. Undaunted, the couple were engaged in September , but they kept it a secret for the sake of mother Margaret. In , Margaret's health was failing. I feel this every day. On November 10, , Margaret Carnegie died.
They were finally married on April 22, , at the Whitfield home. The wedding was very small, very quiet, very private.
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There was no maid of honor, no best man, no ushers, and only 30 guests. Carnegie was unusual among the industrial captains of his day because he preached for the rights of laborers to unionize and to protect their jobs. However, Carnegie's actions did not always match his rhetoric.
Carnegie's steel workers were often pushed to long hours and low wages. In the Homestead Srtike of , Carnegie threw his support behind Frick, the plant manager, who locked out workers and hired Pinkerton thugs to intimidate strikers. Many were killed in the conflict, and it was an episode that would forever hurt Carnegie's reputation and haunt him as a man. Still, Carnegie's steel juggernaut was unstoppable, and by Carnegie Steel produced more steel than all of Great Britain. That was also the year that financier J. While Carnegie believed he could beat Morgan in a battle lasting five, 10 or 15 years, the fight did not appeal to the year old man eager to spend more time with his wife Louise and daughter Margaret.
Carnegie wrote the asking price for his steel business on a piece of paper and had one of his managers deliver the offer to Morgan in Carnegie," Morgan said to Carnegie when they finalized the deal, "you are now the richest man in the world. Philanthropy Fond of saying that "the man who dies rich dies disgraced," Carnegie turned his attention to giving away his fortune.