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Library History

Andrew Carnegie: A 175th Anniversary Tribute

2010 is the 175th anniversary of Andrew Carnegie's birth.

Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland.







Envelope commemorating Carnegie's birth postmarked in Dunfermline, Scotland.







Carnegie was often referred to as the ‘Patron Saint of Libraries’.  He donated $56,162,622 for the construction of 2509 library buildings throughout the English-speaking parts of the world.





Cartoon featuring Andrew Carnegie from Harper's Weekly April 11, 1903 Accompanied by this poem:

"We men are only lusty boys,
Though snowy be our locks,
So Skibo's master still enjoys
To sit and play with blocks."






Skibo Castle was Carnegie's home in Scotland after he made his fortune in steel in the United States. Skibo is referred to in the poem above. Carnegie also had a mansion in New York City.







A 1886 letter from Carnegie's secretary to an acquaintance of Carnegie in Washington Territory telling him not to worry about a loan. It was in 1886 that Carnegie made his first grant for a public library in the United States to the community of Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  This was the start of Carnegie's "retail period" which covered the years 1886 to 1996.












The Fairfield, Iowa was the first community to receive a Carnegie grant for a library building outside of Pennsylvania.







In 1935 the Carnegie Corporation of New York donated portraits of Andrew Carnegie to all libraries in the United States that had received Carnegie grants for buildings. Many of these portraits are still in Carnegie buildings still in use as libraries.










Carnegie was honored by the United States Postal Service with a 4 cent stamp on Nov. 25, 1960.  The stamp is based on the same portrait which was donated to libraries for Carnegie's 100th birthday anniversary. The stamp was issued in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the 125th anniversary of Carnegie's birth. 




The cachet on this first day cover for the stamp commemorating the centennial of steel in America features Carnegie who made his wealth in the steel industry.







Note from Ray Bradbury to a friend in which he calls Carnegie "one of my favorite Revolutionary heroes of American History".










See also:

Carnegie Library Links 

Carnegie 175th Anniversary Tribute

Carnegie Libraries on Stamps



 Postal Librariana

Library History

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