Andrew Carnegie (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: One of the wealthiest men in the world at the time of his retirement from business in 1901, Carnegie achieved great fame for his business success and for his many benefactions, which became the chief interest of his later years.
Andrew Carnegie was born November 25, 1835, in Dunfermline, Scotland. His father, William Carnegie, a prosperous handloom weaver at the time of Andrew’s birth, was unable to compete with the new technology of steam looms and fell into poverty as Andrew grew older. Andrew’s mother, Margaret Morrison Carnegie, proved under these circumstances to be the bulwark of the family. Ambitious for her two sons, Andrew and younger brother Thomas, she organized a move to the United States in 1848.
They settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where they had relatives and attempted to rebuild the family’s fortunes. Although William Carnegie was never again a success, the family got by through hard work and timely assistance from the Pittsburgh area’s close-knit Scottish community. Working long, hard hours in factories, Andrew improved his skills, learning double-entry bookkeeping in night school, and in barely a year left factory work to become a telegraph messenger in 1849, an operator in 1851, and in 1853, secretary and personal telegrapher to Tom Scott, superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s western division.
(The entire section is 2728 words.)
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