Andrew Carnegie was born into a poor Scottish family and became one of the wealthiest men in the world. He was very complex. He promised his mother that he would not marry as long as she was alive and remained a bachelor most of his life. His mother lived with him. A year after her death he married Louise Whitfield. Andrew Carnegie was then 52.
After moving to the United States, he worked many low level jobs before creating the Carnegie Steel Company. He sold it to US Steel Corporation at age 65 for $200 million and became a philanthropist who said, “The man who dies rich dies in disgrace”. At the time he was said to be the richest man in the world. He founded Carnegie Hall in New York City, Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and spent $60 million creating libraries. 1689 of them conformed to his construction dictates that included a suitable site in a city that agreed to provide money equal to one-tenth of the construction grant each year for maintenance and book buying.
My 2 favorite Carnegie Libraries are in Port Townsend, WA and Bryan, TX. The library in Port Townsend is uptown at 1220 Lawrence Street, and it’s a traditional library built in 1898. An addition that completely conformed to its architectural style was added in 1990. The one on Bryan has a specialty. I did not know about it until our 2020 visit. Upon entering, Ruth and I were asked if we had a particular reason for being there. As it turned out the 2nd floor is devoted to genealogical research. Opened to the public in 1903, the Bryan Carnegie is where we met a Texas couple doing a family search. Ray Picklo said that his wife Terry was the genuine researcher, but then he told me that he had spent more than 20 years finding out about his central European roots. They helped me learn a bit about Harbaugh roots and told me how to continue on familysearch.com, among other websites.
The last time we were in New York, Ruth and I toured Carnegie Hall. Andrew Carnegie funded it in 1891 while living in this city. The Carnegie family owned it until 1925. Composer Pieter Tchaikovsky was one of 2 conductors at its first concert. Carnegie’s home across the street from Central Park is now New York City’s excellent Cooper Hewitt design museum. Part of the first floor still looks like it did when Andrew Carnegie lived there. Both Bryan and Port Townsend are fine destinations as are their thriving Carnegie libraries.