Andrew Carnegie 1835-1919, Killorglin Carnegie Library.

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Born: November 25, 1835 Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. Died: August 11, 1919 (aged 83) Lenox, Massachusetts, United States. Cause of death: Bronchial Pneumonia. Occupation: Business magnate, Philanthropist. Net worth: $298.3 billion in 2007 dollars, according to List of wealthiest historical figures, based on information from Forbes, February 2008. Spouse(s): Louise Whitfield. Children: Margaret Carnegie Miller. Andrew Carnegie  (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era; his 1889 article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society and stimulated wave after wave of philanthropy. Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline Scotland and emigrated to the United States with his very poor parents in 1848. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million (the equivalent of approximately $13.2 billion in 2012), creating the U.S. Steel Corporation. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. With the fortune he made from business, he built Carnegie Hall, and founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie Hero Fund, Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, among others. His life has often been referred to as a true “rags to riches” story. Andrew Carnegie was a powerful supporter of the movement for spelling reform as a means of promoting the spread of the English language, thus he in turn built libraries throughout the English speaking world. Along with Carnegie, two other people were responsible for the large number of libraries built in Kerry. They were Thomas O’Donnell (MP for West Kerry 1900-1918) and John P. Boland (MP for South Kerry 1900-1918). Thomas O’Donnell visited the Carnegie steel works in Pittsburgh while on a fund-raising tour of the United States with his party leader, John Redmond in the autumn of 1901. While there he heard Carnegie talking about his scheme of library giving. A few months later in June 1902, Thomas O'Donnell started his efforts to have public libraries established in his constituency by writing directly to Carnegie with a request for £1,500 for a library in Tralee. Due to the tardiness of Tralee Urban District Council, the library would never have been built. It was only the persistent efforts of O’Donnell which finally resulted in a completed building in 1916, with a contribution from Carnegie of £3,000, £1,500 more then initially promised. O'Donnell made the same efforts for Killorglin, undertaking all the correspondence until the building was opened in 1909. He was also responsible for the library at Dingle which involved another long struggle lasting from 1909 until 1918. Kenmare also benefited from a Carnegie Library, as did Castleisland and Cahersiveen. Andrew Carnegie also donated the funds for the organ of St James' Church Killorglin. Andrew Carnegie died on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts, of bronchial pneumonia. He had already given away $350,695,653 (approximately $4.8 billion, adjusted to 2010 figures) of his wealth. At his death, his last $30,000,000 was given to foundations, charities, and to pensioners. He was buried at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in North Tarrytown, New York. The grave site is located on the Arcadia Hebron plot of land at the corner of Summit Avenue and Dingle Road. Carnegie is buried only a few yards away from union organizer Samuel Gompers, another important figure of industry in the Gilded Age.


Killorglin Carnegie Library built in 1909.