|Birth Day:||November 25, 1835|
|Death Date:||Aug 11, 1919 (age 83)|
|Birth Place:||Dunfermline, Scotland|
As per our current Database, Andrew Carnegie died on Aug 11, 1919 (age 83).
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He worked as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory and as a telegraph messenger boy.
Andrew Carnegie was born to Margaret Morrison Carnegie and William Carnegie in Dunfermline, Scotland, in a typical weaver's cottage with only one main room, consisting of half the ground floor, which was shared with the neighboring weaver's family. The main room served 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, from which his father benefited. He was educated at the Free School in Dunfermline, which had been a gift to the town by the philanthropist Adam Rolland of Gask.
Carnegie's maternal uncle, George Lauder, Sr., a Scottish political leader, deeply influenced him as a boy by introducing him to the writings of Robert Burns and historical Scottish heroes such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy. Lauder's son, also named George Lauder, grew up with Carnegie and would become his business partner. When Carnegie was thirteen, his father had fallen on very hard times as a handloom weaver; making matters worse, the country was in starvation. His mother helped support the family by assisting her brother (a cobbler), and by selling potted meats at her "sweetie shop", leaving her as the primary breadwinner. Struggling to make ends meet, the Carnegies then decided to borrow money from George Lauder, Sr. and move to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life. Carnegie's migration to America would be his second journey outside Dunfermline – the first being an outing to Edinburgh to see Queen Victoria.
In September 1848, Carnegie arrived with his family in Allegheny. Carnegie's father struggled to sell his product on his own. Eventually, the father and son both received job offers at the same Scottish-owned cotton mill, Anchor Cotton Mills. Carnegie's first job in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. His starting wage was $1.20 per week ($35 by 2019 inflation).
In 1849, Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week ($77 by 2019 inflation) following the recommendation of his uncle. He was a 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 his work and quickly learned to distinguish the differing sounds the incoming telegraph signals produced. He developed the ability to translate signals by ear, without using the paper slip, and within a year was promoted to operator. Carnegie's education and passion for reading was given a 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. He was so grateful to Colonel Anderson for the use of his library that he "resolved, if ever wealth came to me, [to see to it] that other poor boys might receive opportunities similar to those for which we were indebted to the noble man". His capacity, his willingness for hard work, his perseverance and his alertness soon brought him opportunities.
Starting in 1853, when Carnegie was around 18 years old, Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company employed him as a secretary/telegraph operator at a salary of $4.00 per week ($123 by 2019 inflation). Carnegie accepted the job with the railroad as he saw more prospects for career growth and experience there than with the telegraph company. At age 24, Scott asked Carnegie if he could handle being superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. On December 1, 1859, Carnegie officially became superintendent of the Western Division. Carnegie then hired his sixteen-year-old brother, Tom, to be his personal secretary and telegraph operator. Not only did Carnegie hire his brother, but he also hired his cousin, Maria Hogan, who became the first female telegraph operator in the country. As superintendent Carnegie made a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year ($43,000 by 2019 inflation). His employment by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company 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.
On the subject of charity Andrew Carnegie's actions diverged in the most significant and complex manner from Herbert Spencer's philosophies. In his 1854 essay "Manners and Fashion", Spencer referred to public education as "Old schemes". He went on to declare that public schools and colleges fill the heads of students with inept, useless knowledge and exclude useful knowledge. Spencer stated that he trusted no organization of any kind, "political, religious, literary, philanthropic", and believed that as they expanded in influence so too did their regulations expand. In addition, Spencer thought that as all institutions grow they become evermore corrupted by the influence of power and money. The institution eventually loses its "original spirit, and sinks into a lifeless mechanism". Spencer insisted that all forms of philanthropy that uplift the poor and downtrodden were reckless and incompetent. Spencer thought any attempt to prevent "the really salutary sufferings" of the less fortunate "bequeath to posterity a continually increasing curse". Carnegie, a self-proclaimed devotee of Spencer, testified to Congress on February 5, 1915: "My business is to do as much good in the world as I can; I have retired from all other business."
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, John 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". 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 his mother's placing of a $600 mortgage on the family's $700 home, but the opportunity was available only because of Carnegie's close relationship with Scott. A few years later, he received a few shares in Theodore Tuttle 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 connections 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.
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 D.C. that the rebels had cut; he rode the locomotive pulling the first brigade of Union troops to reach Washington D.C. Following the defeat of Union forces at Bull Run, 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.
In 1864, Carnegie was one of the early investors in the Columbia Oil Company in Venango County, Pennsylvania. 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, cannons, 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.
Carnegie constructed commodious swimming-baths for the people of his hometown in Dunfermline in 1879. In the following year, Carnegie gave £8,000 for the establishment of a Dunfermline Carnegie Library in Scotland. 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 Kingdom. They toured Scotland by coach, and enjoyed several receptions en route. The highlight was a return to Dunfermline, where Carnegie's mother laid the foundation stone of a Carnegie library which he funded. 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 English-speaking peoples. To this end, in the early 1880s in partnership with Samuel Storey, 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 wealth, afforded him many British friends, including Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.
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 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, Carnegie. High above the city, near the small town of South Fork, the South Fork Dam was originally built between 1838 and 1853 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of a canal system to be used as a reservoir for a canal basin in Johnstown. With the coming-of-age of railroads superseding canal barge transport, the lake was abandoned by the Commonwealth, sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad, and sold again to private interests and eventually came to be owned by the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club in 1881. Prior to the flood, speculators had purchased the abandoned reservoir, made less than well-engineered repairs to the old dam, raised the lake level, built cottages and a clubhouse, and created the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. Less than 20 miles (32 km) downstream from the dam sat the city of Johnstown.
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 iron per day. In 1883, Carnegie bought the rival Homestead Steel Works, which included an extensive plant served by tributary coal and iron fields, a 425-mile (684 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.
Carnegie turned over management of the library project by 1908 to his staff, led by James Bertram (1874–1934). The first Carnegie library opened in 1883 in Dunfermline. His method was to provide funds to build and equip the library, 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, Pennsylvania for a public library, and in 1886, he gave $250,000 to Allegheny City, Pennsylvania for a music hall and library; and $250,000 to Edinburgh for a free library. In total, Carnegie funded some 3,000 libraries, located in 47 US states, and also in Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the West Indies, and Fiji. He also donated £50,000 to help set up the University of Birmingham in 1899.
Carnegie did not want to marry during his mother's lifetime, instead choosing to take care of her in her illness towards the end of her life. After she died in 1886, the 51-year-old Carnegie married Louise Whitfield, who was 21 years his junior. In 1897, the couple had their only child, a daughter, whom they named after Carnegie's mother, Margaret.
In 1886, Carnegie's younger brother Thomas died at age 43. While owning steel works, Carnegie had purchased at low cost the most valuable of the iron ore fields around Lake Superior. 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.
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 US.
By 1889, the U.S. output of steel exceeded that of the UK, and Carnegie owned a large part of it. Carnegie's empire grew to include the J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, (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 Bridge project across the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri (completed 1874). This project was an important proof-of-concept for steel technology, which marked the opening of a new steel market.
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. 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. Philanthropy was key to making life worthwhile.
Carnegie was one of more than 50 members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, which has been blamed for the Johnstown Flood that killed 2,209 people in 1889.
The dam was 72 feet (22 m) high and 931 feet (284 m) long. Between 1881 when the club was opened, and 1889, the dam frequently sprang leaks and was patched, mostly with mud and straw. Additionally, a previous owner removed and sold for scrap the 3 cast iron discharge pipes that previously allowed a controlled release of water. There had been some speculation as to the dam's integrity, and concerns had been raised by the head of the Cambria Iron Works downstream in Johnstown. Such repair work, a reduction in height, and unusually high snowmelt and heavy spring rains combined to cause the dam to give way on May 31, 1889, resulting in twenty million tons of water sweeping down the valley as the Johnstown Flood. 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.
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 on Carnegie Steel's main plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania, and grew out of a labor dispute between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA) and the Carnegie Steel Company.
In the aftermath of the Spanish–American War, the United States seem poised to annex Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Carnegie strongly opposed the idea of American colonies. He opposed the annexation of the Philippines almost to the point of supporting William Jennings Bryan against McKinley in 1900. In 1898, Carnegie tried to arrange independence for the Philippines. As the conclusion of the Spanish–American War neared, the United States purchased the Philippines from Spain for $20 million. To counter what he perceived as American imperialism, Carnegie personally offered $20 million to the Philippines so that the Filipino people could purchase their independence from the United States. However, nothing came of the offer. In 1898 Carnegie joined the American Anti-Imperialist League, in opposition to the U.S. annexation of the Philippines. Its membership included former presidents of the United States Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison and literary figures such as Mark Twain.
In 1900, Carnegie gave $2 million 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 known as Carnegie Mellon University after it merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Carnegie also served on the Boards of Cornell University and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Besides Carnegie's market manipulation, United States trade tariffs were also working in favor of the steel industry. Carnegie spent energy and resources lobbying congress for a continuation of favorable tariffs from which he earned millions of dollars a year. Carnegie tried to keep this information concealed, but legal documents released in 1900, during proceedings with the ex-chairman of Carnegie Steel, Henry Clay Frick, revealed how favorable the tariffs had been. Herbert Spencer absolutely was against government interference in business in the form of regulatory limitation, taxes, and tariffs as well. Spencer saw tariffs as a form of taxation that levied against the majority in service to "the benefit of a small minority of manufacturers and artisans".
In 1901, Carnegie was 66 years of age and considering retirement. He reformed his enterprises into conventional joint stock corporations as preparation for this. John Pierpont Morgan was a banker and America's most important financial deal maker. He had observed how efficiently Carnegie produced profits. 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 March 2, 1901, and formed the United States Steel Corporation. It was the first corporation in the world with a market capitalization over $1 billion.
Carnegie's share of this amounted to $225.64 million (in 2019, $6.93 billion), which was paid to Carnegie in the form of 5%, 50-year gold bonds. The letter agreeing to sell his share was signed on February 26, 1901. On March 2, the circular formally filing the organization and capitalization (at $1.4 billion – 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) 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 Jersey, in trust to Robert A. Franks, Carnegie's business secretary. There, a special vault was built to house the physical bulk of nearly $230 million worth of bonds.
In 1901, in Scotland, he gave $10 million to establish the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. It was created by a deed which he signed on June 7, 1901, and it was incorporated by Royal Charter on August 21, 1902. The establishing gift of $10 million was then an unprecedented sum: at the time, total government assistance to all four Scottish universities was about £50,000 a year. The aim of the Trust was to improve and extend the opportunities for scientific research in the Scottish universities and to enable the deserving and qualified youth of Scotland to attend a university. He was subsequently elected Lord Rector of University of St. Andrews in December 1901, and formally installed as such in October 1902, serving until 1907. 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 Park 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.
In 1901, Carnegie also established large pension funds 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.
After he sold his steel company in 1901, Carnegie was able to get fully involved in the peace cause, both financially and personally. He gave away much of his fortunes to various peace-keeping agencies in order to keep them growing. When his friend, the British writer William T. Stead, asked him to create a new organization for the goal of a peace and arbitration society, his reply was:
Carnegie received the honorary Doctor of Laws (DLL) from the University of Glasgow in June 1901, and received the Freedom of the City of Glasgow "in recognition of his munificence" later the same year. In July 1902 he received the Freedom of the city of St Andrews, "in testimony of his great zeal for the welfare of his fellow-men on both sides of the Atlantic", and in October 1902 the Freedom of the City of Perth "in testimony of his high personal worth and beneficial influence, and in recognition of widespread benefactions bestowed on this and other lands, and especially in gratitude for the endowment granted by him for the promotion of University education in Scotland" and the Freedom of the City of Dundee. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of Aberdeen in 1906. In 1910, he received the Freedom of the City of Belfast. Carnegie received 1 July 1914 an honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen the Netherlands.
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 Castle in Scotland, and made his home partly there and partly in his New York mansion located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue. The building was completed in late 1902, and he lived there until his death in 1919. His wife Louise continued to live there until her death in 1946.
On the surface, Andrew Carnegie appears to be a strict laissez-faire capitalist and follower of Herbert Spencer, often referring to himself as a disciple of Spencer. Conversely, Carnegie, a titan of industry, seems to embody all of the qualities of Spencerian survival of the fittest. The two men enjoyed a mutual respect for one another and maintained correspondence until Spencer's death in 1903. There are however, some major discrepancies between Spencer's capitalist evolutionary conceptions and Andrew Carnegie's capitalist practices.
In 1904, he founded the Carnegie Hero Fund for the United States and Canada (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 Palace at The Hague; and he donated $150,000 for a Pan-American Palace in Washington as a home for the International Bureau of American Republics.
His largest and in the long run most influential peace organization was the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, formed in 1910 with a $10 million endowment. In 1913, at the dedication of the Peace Palace in The Hague, Carnegie predicted that the end of war was as certain to come, and come soon, as day follows night.
Like Stead, he believed that the United States and the British Empire would merge into one nation, telling him "We are heading straight to the Re-United States". Carnegie believed that the combined country's power would maintain world peace and disarmament. The creation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1910 was regarded as a milestone on the road to the ultimate goal of abolition of war. Beyond a gift of $10 million for peace promotion, Carnegie also encouraged the "scientific" investigation of the various causes of war, and the adoption of judicial methods that should eventually eliminate them. He believed that the Endowment exists to promote information on the nations' rights and responsibilities under existing international law and to encourage other conferences to codify this law.
In 1911, Carnegie became a sympathetic benefactor to George Ellery Hale, who was trying to build the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson, 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.
He gave a further $10 million in 1913 to endow the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, a grant-making foundation. He transferred to the trust the charge of all his existing and future benefactions, other than university benefactions in the United Kingdom. He gave the trustees a wide discretion, and they inaugurated a policy of financing rural library schemes rather than erecting library buildings, and of assisting the musical education of the people rather than granting organs to churches.
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 mobilize the world's churches, religious organizations, 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.
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 Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The fraternity's mission reflects Carnegie's values by developing young men to share their talents to create harmony in the world.
Carnegie died on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts, at his Shadow Brook estate, of bronchial pneumonia. He had already given away $350,695,653 (approximately $76.9 billion, adjusted to 2015 share of GDP figures) of his wealth. After his death, his last $30,000,000 was given to foundations, charities, and to pensioners. He was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. The grave site is located on the Arcadia Hebron plot of land at the corner of Summit Avenue and Dingle Road. Carnegie is buried only a few yards away from union organizer Samuel Gompers, another important figure of industry in the Gilded Age.
In his final days, Carnegie suffered from pneumonia. Before his death on August 11, 1919, Carnegie had donated $350,695,654 for various causes. The "Andrew Carnegie Dictum" was:
The building is now used as the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. The surrounding neighborhood on Manhattan's Upper East Side has come to be called Carnegie Hill. The mansion was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.
Currently, Andrew Carnegie is 187 years, 3 months and 27 days old. Andrew Carnegie will celebrate 188th birthday on a Saturday 25th of November 2023.
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