Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie (kärnĕg´ē, kär´nəgē), 1835–1919, American industrialist and philanthropist, b. Dunfermline, Scotland. His father, a weaver, found it increasingly difficult to get work in Scottish factories and in 1848 brought his family to Allegheny (now Pittsburgh), Pa. Andrew first worked in a cotton mill as a bobbin boy, then advanced himself as a telegrapher, and became (1859) a superintendent for the Pennsylvania RR. He resigned (1865) his railroad position to give personal attention to the investments he had made (1864) in iron manufactures.

By 1873, Carnegie had recognized America's need for steel and, concentrating on steel production, he began his acquisition of firms, which were later consolidated into the Carnegie Steel Company. His success was due in part to efficient business methods, to his able lieutenants, and to close alliances with railroads. Another factor was his partnership with Henry C. Frick. Carnegie, concentrating on production rather than stock-market manipulations, further expanded his plants and consolidated his hold in the depression of 1893–97. By 1900, the Carnegie Steel Company was producing one quarter of all the steel in the United States and controlled iron mines, coke ovens, ore ships, and railroads. It was in these circumstances that the U.S. Steel Corp. was formed to buy Carnegie out. He had long been willing to sell—at his own price—and in 1901 he transferred possession for $250 million in bonds and retired from business.

Carnegie's essay "The Gospel of Wealth" (1889) set forth his idea that rich men are "trustees" of their wealth and should administer it for the good of the public. His benefactions (totaling about $350 million) included Carnegie Hall (1892) in New York City, the Carnegie Institution of Washington (1902), the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission (1904), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1905), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1910), and over 2,800 libraries. After 1887, Carnegie lived a large part of each year in Scotland on his great estate on Dornoch Firth.

See his autobiography (1920, repr. 1963); biographies by B. J. Hendrick (2 vol., 1932, repr. 1989), A. F. Harlow (1953), J. F. Wall (1970), and D. Nasaw (2006); study on Carnegie libraries by A. A. Van Slyck (1996).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Andrew Carnegie: Selected full-text books and articles

FREE! Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie By Andrew Carnegie Houghton Mifflin, 1920
FREE! A Manual of the Public Benefactions of Andrew Carnegie By Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1919
Business Leaders: A Historical Sketch of Andrew Carnegie By Wren, Daniel A.; Greenwood, Ronald G Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4, Fall 1998
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Democracy and the Gospel of Wealth By Gail Kennedy D. C. Heath, 1949
Librarian’s tip: "Andrew Carnegie: Wealth" begins on p. 1
Henry Clay Frick, the Man By George Harvey C. Scribner's Sons, 1936
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Enter the Carnegies"
Tropes and Parodies of Capitalist Biography: Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" vs. Herrick's 'Memoirs.' By Phillips, Wm. M Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 32, No. 1, March 1999
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The "Better Angels" of Capitalism: Rhetoric, Narrative, and Moral Identity among Men of the American Upper Class By Andrew Herman Westview Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "An Empire of Beneficence: Andrew Carnegie and the Philanthropic Vocation of the Steward-Entrepreneur" begins on p. 218
Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Spirit: Addresses at the Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh, 1927-1928 By Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh Robert L. Forsythe Company, 1928
Librarian’s tip: "Andrew Carnegie's Contribution to the Steel Industry" begins on p. 73
Reader in American Library History By Michael H. Harris Microcard Editions, 1971
Librarian’s tip: "Impact of Carnegie Philanthropy on American Public Library Development" begins on p. 163
Ragged Dicks: Masculinity, Steel, and the Rhetoric of the Self-Made Man By James V. Catano Southern Illinois University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Andrew Carnegie and Middle-Class Myth" begins on p. 60
Books and Reading in the Lives of Notable Americans: A Biographical Sourcebook By John A. McCrossan Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Andrew Carnegie (1815-1919)" begins on p. 32
Where Have You Gone, Andrew Carnegie? By Henle, Peter; Drajem, Mark The Washington Monthly, Vol. 28, No. 5, May 1996
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