Carnegie Libraries Fete "Andy's" 150th Birthday

American Libraries, January 1986 | Go to article overview

Carnegie Libraries Fete "Andy's" 150th Birthday


With music, historical exhibits, contests, and birthday parties, Carnegie libraries from Massachusetts to Hawaii celebrated during 1985 the 150th anniversary of Andrew Carnegie's birth.

The Andrew Carnegie Free Public Library in Carnegie, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh, commemorated the event Aug. 3, Director Ruth Collura told AL, because the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra asked to present a free concert in the library's music hall that night. The following week the orchestra repeated the same program, featuring Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The biggest bash Took place on the actual birth date, Nov. 25, in the Carnegie Institute and Library of Pittsburgh. The steel magnate had launched the existing cultural complex by building the music hall and museums of art and natural history as well as the library in 1895, and dedicating them to his "noble quartet," music, art, science, and literature.

The full day of citywide sesquicentennial activities began at 10 a.m., when U.S. Postal Service employees opened a booth in the main library and began cancelling commemorative cachets. The envelopes carried a portrait of Carnegie and the Nation of Readers and Freedom of Speech stamps.

Despite the miserable weather, 69 people brought in their entries for judging in a short-bread baking contest at 11 a.m. The library's own Ann Safley, a music and art librarian, won first prize, a case of Scotch.

Kenneth Miller, Carnegie's great-grandson, journeyed from New York City to participate in the morning ceremonies. A quilt stitched by branch library patrons for the celebration was unveiled on a main library wall. At 8 p.m. in the Carnegie Music Hall, the Pittsburgh Symphony performed the Dedication March, composed by Adolphe M. Foerster for the hall's opening in 1895. …

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Carnegie Libraries Fete "Andy's" 150th Birthday
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