Andrew Carnegie

Industrialist / Philanthropist

Born: 25 November 1835
Died: 11 August 1919
Birthplace: Dunfermline, Scotland
Best known as: Steel tycoon who started over 2,800 libraries
Andrew Carnegie was a 19th century steel tycoon who became one of the 20th century's most famous philanthropists. His life story is one of the most famous rags-to-riches accounts in United States history. Born in Scotland, Carnegie moved to Pennsylvania with his family in 1848 and began working in factories as a teenager. Hard work and a wise investment in a sleeping car company during the 1850s led to Carnegie's early success in the railroad business as well as the financial world. During the Civil War he invested in oil, worked in transportation for the U.S. War Department and became interested in the iron and steel business. After the war he concentrated on steel, and by 1888 he owned control of the Homestead Steel Works and other manufacturing plants, which he eventually consolidated as the Carnegie Steel Company. With his longtime partner, Henry Clay Frick, Carnegie competed fiercely in business and tried to quash organized labor, in spite of his belief that it was the duty of the wealthy to help society (a belief he outlined in an influential 1889 essay, "The Gospel of Wealth"). In 1901 Carnegie Steel merged with the U.S. Steel Corporation and Carnegie sold out to J.P. Morgan for $480 million, making Carnegie the richest man in the world. After his retirement he became a philanthropist and donated more than $350 million to further public education, build libraries and lobby for international peace. He also created the Carnegie Corporation of New York, endowing it with $125 million to support benefactions after his death. Although he spent much of his later life on his estate in Scotland, during World War I he returned to the U.S., where he died in 1919 at Shadowbrook, his estate in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.
Extra credit: During the Civil War Carnegie avoided the battlefield by paying a replacement $850... Carnegie was a distant cousin to Dale Carnegie, whose 1937 bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People, made him a celebrity... Andrew Carnegie pronounced his last name "Kar-NAY-gee."

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