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Carnegie Libraries: Topics in Chronicling America

From the late 19th to early 20th century, Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie helped create many libraries. This guide provides access to materials related to "Carnegie Libraries" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Two Carnegie Libraries. Mr. Carnegie likes library-giving for one reason particularly, he says: 'The library gives nothing for nothing.'" June 27, 1909. The Pacific Commercial Advertiser (Honolulu, HI), Image 2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

In 1881, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) built his first library in his birthplace Dunfermline, Scottland. Years laters, Carnegie's philanthropy led to the creation of more libraries. Overall, Carnegie gave millions of dollars to establish more than 1,600 libraries in the United States. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1881 Andrew Carnegie builds his first library in Dunfermline, Scotland.
1885 Carnegie creates a public library and meeting place for his workers at the Keystone Bridge Works in Pittsburgh, PA.
June 1889 Carnegie expresses his views on how prosperous individuals should use their resources in an essay entitled “Wealth” published in the North American Review.
March 1901 Carnegie offers a gift of libraries to New York City and Richmond, VA.
January 1902 Akron, OH accepts Carnegie’s offer of a donated library.
December 1902 New York City's first Carnegie library opens.
December 1902 Carnegie increases donation for Jerseyville, IL library.
January 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt and Andrew Carnegie attend the dedication of the Washington, DC Carnegie library.