Andrew Carnegie was the foremost supporter of public library construction to the point that "Carnegie Library" became a cliche, synonymous with the public library, especially in small towns. Yet some communities that asked for Carnegie's funds to build a library later took public action to decline the funds. Because he was viewed as a "robber baron," it has been assumed that these refusals were motivated by a desire not to take "tainted" money. This work documents that this was rarely the case, however, and that the refusal resulted from a complex mix of motives, including local politics and the press of other public projects.
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