Andrew Carnegie : biography
Andrew Carnegie ( , but commonly or ;MacKay Little Boss: A life of Andrew Carnegie p.29. November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era; his 1889 article "Wealth" (known more commonly—particularly in colloquial parlance—as "The Gospel of Wealth") remains a formative advisory text for those who aspire to lead philanthropic lives.
Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe. He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million, creating the U.S. Steel Corporation. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. With the fortune he made from business, he built Carnegie Hall, and founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie Hero Fund, Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, among others. His life has often been referred to as a true "rags to riches" story.
Carnegie was a frequent contributor to periodicals on labor issues. In addition to Triumphant Democracy (1886), and The Gospel of Wealth (1889), he also wrote An American Four-in-hand in Britain (1883), Round the World (1884), The Empire of Business (1902), The Secret of Business is the Management of Men (1903),Carnegie, Andrew (1903). James Watt (1905) in the Famous Scots Series, Problems of Today (1907), and his posthumously published autobiography Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (1920).
Andrew Carnegie was born 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.MacKay Little Boss: A life of Andrew Carnegie pp. 23–24. The main room served as a living room, dining room and bedroom. He was named after his legal 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, William Carnegie, benefited. His uncle, George Lauder, whom he referred to as "Dod", introduced him to the writings of Robert Burns and historical Scottish heroes such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy. Falling on very hard times as a handloom weaver and with the country in starvation, William Carnegie decided to move with his family to Allegheny, Pennsylvania in the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life.MacKay Little Boss:A life of Andrew Carnegie pp.37–38. Andrew’s family had to borrow money in order to migrate. Allegheny was a very poor area. His first job at age 13 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. p. 34 Andrew’s father, William Carnegie, started off working in a cotton mill but then would earn money weaving and peddling linens. His mother, Margaret Morrison Carnegie, earned money by binding shoes.
In 1850, Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week, p. 37 following the recommendation of his uncle. His new job gave him many benefits including free admission to the local theater. This made him appreciate Shakespeare’s work. He was a very 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 having to write them down, and within a year was promoted as an operator. Carnegie’s education and passion for reading was given a great 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. His capacity, his willingness for hard work, his perseverance, and his alertness soon brought forth opportunities.