Skip Navigation
(0) My Trip Planner
email print

Andrew Carnegie

Son of a weaver, came to the U.S. in 1848 and settled in Allegheny, PA. At thirteen, Carnegie went to work as a bobbin boy in a cotton mill. Moved rapidly through a succession of jobs with Western Union and the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1865, resigned to establish his own business enterprises and organized the Carnegie Steel Company, which launched the steel industry in Pittsburgh. At age sixty-five, sold the company to J. P. Morgan for $480 million and devoted the rest of his life to his philanthropic activities and writing. Was perhaps the first person of wealth to state publicly that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes.

In 1889 wrote The Gospel of Wealth, asserting that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one's family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community. Set about disposing of his fortune through innumerable personal gifts and through the establishment of various trusts. In his thirties, gave his first large gifts to his native town. Later created seven philanthropic and educational organizations in the United States, including Carnegie Corporation of New York. Established network of free public libraries to make available to everyone a means of self-education.

Spent over $56 million to build 2,509 libraries throughout the English-speaking world. Other major programs included adult education and education in the fine arts. Established the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and founded the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchesta in 1895. During his lifetime, Carnegie gave away over $350 million.

Historical Marker commemorating Andrew Carnegie located at Carnegie Library, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Please find out more and meet the "Father of Modern Philanthropy" through the Carnegie Corporation of New York's interactive storytelling website.