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Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland on 25th November, 1835. His father was a handloom weaver and his family had a long association with the Chartist movement and social reform. In the wake of the economic depression of 1848 the Carnegie family moved to Pittsburgh in the United States where 12 year old Andrew began working in a cotton factory.

He continued with his education at evening classes and when he was 14 years old he got a job as a messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Telegraph Office. The superintendent of the western division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Thomas Scott, recognised Carnegie’s talents and made him his secretary. During the Civil War Carnegie‘s star continued to rise and at the end of the war he replaced Scott as superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Shrewd investments followed and eventually his astute investment in the emerging steel industry netted him a huge fortune. Carnegie set up a trust fund "for the improvement of mankind." This included the building of 3,000 public libraries of which 380 were in Britain.

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