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A "Rags to Riches" Story: The Life of Andrew Carnegie (Cook Memorial Public Library District--Libertyville, IL)
Andrew Carnegie made a name for himself in the United States steel industry, to public libraries, and in history as a true “Rags to Riches” story. Carnegie, born to impoverished parents in Scotland, traveled to the U.S. with his family at the age of 13 in 1848. He worked as a telegraph messenger and bobbin boy until he started work in the railroad industry at the age of 18. By the 1860’s, he made investments in the railroad industry and furthered his wealth as a bond salesman. He eventually built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company which later became U.S. Steel Company. Carnegie became a leading philanthropist in the U.S. and at one point, surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest man in America. At the end of his life, Carnegie donated approximately 90 percent of his fortune, $350 million, to charities, universities and foundations. Carnegie also initiated and funded over 1,600 public libraries across the country.

Historian Jim Gibbons will discuss the life of Carnegie, one of the wealthiest self-made billionaires during the Gilded ages, his mark on the U.S. steel industry, and his close business relationship and friendship with Gibbons’ Great Uncle, Charles Schwab, President of U.S. Steel Company. Though the Cook Memorial Public Library is not a Carnegie Library, Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy for libraries began the flourishing educational public library system across the nation that we know today.


(*A Q&A session will be held following the presentation if time allows).

(*Please contact the library for registration requirements prior to the program).

Apr 22, 2021 06:30 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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