New England Carnegies

A site that honors the libraries that Andrew Carnegie helped to fund

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Carnegie Visit Worcester, Massachusetts

March 26, 1913

As reported, beginning on the front page of The Evening Gazette (Worcester), Wednesday, March 26, 1913:

Steel King Comes to Lay Corner Stones of New Libraries

Andrew Carnegie, the great steel king who has laid aside something over $66,000,000 in his foundation for the advancement of teaching, for the Carnegie Institution at Washington, for the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and for the Carnegie Hero Fund, arrived in Worcester shortly after 2 oclock this afternoon to help dedicate three branch libraries in Worcester which have been built with funds supplied by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Mr Carnegie was accompanied by Mrs Carnegie, a private secretary and others attached to his personal staff. He was met at the station by a committee consisting of Mayor George M. Wright, Walter S. Doane, president of the Board of Aldermen, Charles A. Harrington, president of the Common Council, Librarian Robert K. Shaw and Librarian Emeritus Samuel S. Green.

Mr Carnegie, whose benefactions have spread throughout the entire country[,] is a pleasant looking man, undersized, but with a countence [sic] full of expression. His keen eyes and iron gray beard show him to be a man of much force and he cordially greeted the members of the committee who were on hand to meet him when the train pulled into the station.

Ex-Mayor James Logan, through whose efforts mainly, Mr Carnegie was induced to give the three branch libraries to Worcester, accompanied Mr Carnegie from Springfield and presented members of the committee to him when he stepped off the train.

Mrs Carnegie was greeted by a special committee, made up of Mrs George M. Wright, Mrs James Logan, Mrs Robert K./ Shaw and Miss Ellen W. Coombs.

The plans of the committee as originally laid out, were followed. They provided for Mr Carnegie and party being driven to South Worcester, where he laid the cornerstone of the branch which is being built on Southbridge street, near Cambridge street.

Both Mr Carnegie and Mayor Wright said a few rods here and were then driven to Quinsigamond, where the same ceremony was followed. From Quinsigamond, the party went to Greendale and if the time permits Mr Carnegie is to be entertained at the Worcester Club. His plan provides for him leaving Worcester at 5:02 this afternoon.

The cornerstone at each branch is laid by Mr Carnegie with a silver trowel, specially made for the occasion.

A box was placed inside each cornerstone, containing copies of the daily

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[accompanied by photos of Andrew Carnegie, Mrs Andrew Carnegie, and Ex-Mayor James Logan,Who is Responsible for Mr Carnegies Gift.]

newspapers of Worcester, library matter pertaining to the establishment of branches, magazines, names of city officials and other matter relating to the libraries.

A detachment of police was detailed to preserve order at each of the branches.

The silver trowel, with which the cornerstones were laid, will be presented to Mr Carnegie by the committee when the ceremonies at all three libraries are over.

The committee from the directors of the Public Library, which planned the affair is made up of ex-Mayor Philip J/ OConnell, Prof. Z.W. Coombs, Frank Roe Batchelder, Dr F.P. Barnard, Chandler Bullock and Robert K. Shaw.


The ceremonies at each of the three branches as planned were simple in the extreme.

The South Worcester branch is the most expensive of the three, although all three were planned to costs in the vicinity of $25,000 each.

The sites on which the three branches stand were donated.

The plot in South Worcester was presented by Matthew J. Whittall and Alfred Thomas.

The site in Quinsigamond was presented by the American Steel & Wire Company, and the site in Greendale was presented by the manufacturing concerns of that sections [sic], including the Norton Company, the Norton Grinding Company, Morgan Spring Company, the Osgood Bradley Car Company, the Heald Machine Company, the Worcester Pressed Steel Company, the Allen-Higgins Wall Paper Company, the Walker Grinder Company and Young Bros.

The Quinsigamond branch is located on Millbury street near Stebbins street and the Greendale branch on West Boylston street, is next to the hall of the Greendale Village Improvement Society.

The fund created by Mr Carnegie, of which approximately $75,000 will be spent in Worcester, was created by an act of the New York Legislature Nov 10, 1911. Mr Carnegie transferred to the corporation, for its corporate purposes, $25,000,000 par value first mortgage bonds of the United States Steel Corporation. The Carnegie hero fund, in addition, has $5,000,000 at its disposal, and the Carnegie Institution at Washington has $22,000,000, and the foundation for the advancement of science has $14,000,000, all of which was turned over by Mr Carnegie.


The history of the local branches can best be told by referring back to a quotation from Mayor James Logans inaugural address on January 3, 1910, in referring to the Public Library in which he said:

 For a number of years there have been maintained in different parts of the city delivery stations where a few books are kept and twice each week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, cards bearing requests for books are sent in from the stations to the main library, and on Wednesday and Saturday the books asked for are delivered at the varios [sic] stations.

 This is not an adequate service for a city of almost 150,000 inhabitants in the year of grace 1910. The time has arrived when this city should have in at least three outlying districts, attractive branch libraries and reading rooms, centers of civic development conveniently located near the houses of the people so that the working men and women may get from them the largest possible benefit.

 If the city of Worcester desires branch libraries and reading rooms located in these three outlying districts, I believe I am justified in saying that under proper conditions we can have them without cost to the city.

 E[x]-Mayor Logan further discussing the branch libraries in a message, said in part:

 As a result of several conferences with the representative of Mr Andrew Carnegie, I feel justified in making that statement.

 Last May, after several conferences with representatives of the Public Library, I wrote a letter to Mr Carnegie in which I placed before him a pen picture of the industrial and educational conditions of Worcester. I submitted for his consideration a statement of the area of the city, with tables showing the growth in population and increase in valuation. I outlined to him the mixed character of our population and described briefly our educational institutions, through which we are endeavoring to train our young people for the responsibilities of citizenship.

 I submitted to him a brief history of our Public Library, with a statement of the amounts expended annually by the city for its maintenance.

 Having thus briefly shown the need and opportunity, I suggested that perhaps in the distribution of his wealth he might be disposed to plant three branch libraries in Worcester soil, and I expressed the belief that the field was worthy of the seed, and if planted I believed the city of Worcester would properly care for it, and that in the years to come the seed sown would bear an abundant harvest.

 This letter I took with me to Scotland in May and personally delivered it to Mr Carnegies representative. This gave me an opportunity to describe Worcesters conditions more in detail than could well be done in my short letter.

 On July 9th I received a letter given Mr Carnegies representative, a copy of which follows:

July 1, 1910

Skibo Castle,

Dear Sir. -- Mr Carnegie has yours of May 16th and understands that Worcester had a Central Library but no branches. Mr Carnegie will be glad to provide twenty-five thousand dollars each for the erection of three branch library buildings for Worcester, provided it finds sites for the buildings and council guarantees maintenance fund at the rate of not less than seven thousand five hundred dollars per year, to be in addition to the fifty thousand dollars now spent on the Central Library.

Respectfully yours,


Mr Logan transmitted a copy of this letter to the direction of the Free Public Library, who considered it, went on record in regard to their sincere appreciation and urged immediate acceptance.

In concluding Mr Logan said: A library is more than simply a storehouse for books. It is one of the creative agencies of civilization. Its function is to awaken interest and inform the seeker after knowledge, and this is [sic] cannot do without proper maintenance. The conditions attached to Mr Carnegies generous offer are that the city shall provide the sites and guarantee proper maintenance for the care of the libraries.

The finding of the sites through the efforts of ex-Mayor Logan and the subsequent letting of contracts and the work to date are matters of recent history.

That branch libraries were badly needed to take care of the demand in Worcester has been attested to by the directors of the library.


Mayor Wright, who made the principal address at each of the three branches this afternoon, said in part:

   Mr and Mrs Carnegie, ladies and gentlemen:

 When a man makes extraordinary success in life, whether in business, art or science, he attains a position of honor; but when a man devotes the fruits of that success toward the mental, moral and physical betterment of his brother men, he is entitled to a loftier place in the fame of the world.

 One of the greatest products of this age is Andrew Carnegie. He is a living example of one of the highest types of manhood this world has ever known. Starting with only himself as capital -- yet what a wonderful capital that has proven to be -- he earned stupendous success through unflagging energy and then went about to distribute this bounty where it would do the most good for all.

 Andrew Carnegie believes the greatest blessing of his weath [sic] to be the privilege it gives him to disposing of it in the several ways his keen judgment has told him is best in the interests of all humanity.

 He is striving to amalgamate the nations of the world in a union of peace. He seeks to do away with our heritage of early-day barbarism -- war. He is giving his millions toward the education of all people, and thus is working to abolish the sins of erring mankind, for as one, I believe most of the sins of this world are bred in ignorance.

 The people of a nation who have recourse to the best books are fortified in the beginning, against many of the temptations of the world, to which unknowingly they might fall prey.

 I consider it a great honor and privilege, as Mayor of the city of Worcester, to extend to you, Mr and Mrs Carnegie, the welcome of all the people of this municipality. We want you to know that the people of the heart of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts appreciates your great generosity.

Mr Carnegie, we rejoice that in these three branch libraries, whose cornerstones we lay today, through you, we have a working basis for better citizenship and more enlightment [sic] in the everyday affairs of life that are to come. I want to reiterate the gratitude of Worcester for this gift. Our appreciation, in the official way, has been expressed by the City Council and by the directors of our free public library.

O[u]r citys guests today, whose generosity is felt the world over, have provided the money to build these libraries and private citizens of Worcester have provided the sites. With the thanks of all the people of Worcester, on behalf of them, I accept these splendid gifts, the realization of which will soon be ours.


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