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 in the Worcester Daily Telegram, Thursday, March 27, 1913:

[note:  This reporter or editor had a habit of pulling out key phrases and making them separate headings]

Philanthropist Who Gives Worcester Branch Libraries at Cost of $75,000, Says City Establishes Record For Exercises in One Day

  Andrew Carnegie thoroughly enjoyed himself, yesterday afternoon, when he laid the cornerstones of three branch libraries given by him in the city of Worcester at a cost of $75,000.

  It was a proud day for Mr. Carnegie and he said it was so himself because it establishes a new record for laying library cornerstones. He said it is the first time in history that three cornerstones for libraries have been laid within so short a time in one community.

  The multi-millionaire and great philanthropist had a busy three hours in Worcester, arriving at 2:12 p.m., and leaving at 5:02 p.m. It was hustle all the time.

  The three cornerstones were laid with simple ceremony and in three widely separated sections of the city, but the stones were laid so expeditiously and the plans of the committee went through so like clockwork, that Mr. Carnegie was enabled to take in more than what was

originally planned.

  He visited Worcester trade school , which he afterward said was the finest establishment of its kind he has ever seen. He passed about 20 minutes looking through it, and was greatly interested in the work of the young men on the lathes and in the patternmaking department.

  Mr. Carnegie, who was accompanied by Mrs. Carnegie, was greeted by large crowds at union station upon his arrival and departure, and at the branch libraries at South Worcester, Quinsigamond, and Greendale many people turned out to see him and to witness the cornerstone laying.

  At all three branch libraries Mr. Carnegie made brief extemporaneous remarks, at all of them expressing keen pleasure because the city accepted his offer to build the libraries. He said that he is the city’s debtor, not the city his. He said the donors of the sites in the three locations and the city council in providing for the maintenance for these libraries, are the ones entitled to the greatest praise.

  The day was cold and raw, and Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie were unprepared for it, having left New York with the sun shining. Mr. Carnegie found he required rubbers, and stopped off at a store in Quinsigamond to equip himself with them. The committee which arranged

for the ceremonies

consisted of Prof. Zelotes W. Coombs, president of the library directors; Frank Roe Batchelder, Hon. Philip J. O’Connell, Dr. Frank P. Bernard, Chandler Bullock, directors of the library, and Robert K. Shaw, librarian.

  The committee provided five automobiles to take the party around to the different libraries, and Mr. Batchelder gave his own car for the press.

  Mrs. Carnegie was met by a committee of women and remained with them during the afternoon.

  Others in the official party were Mayor George M. Wright, who spoke at the three places; Hon. James Logan, Alderman Walter S. Doane, president of the aldermen; Charles A. Harrington, president of common council; Librarian emeritus Samuel Swett Green; Judge Frederick H. Chamberlain, Judge Edward T. Esty, Rev. Bernard S. Conaty, Hartley W. Bartlett, Gustaf A. Berg, William J. Denholm and Henry D. Whitfield, architect.

  Mr. Carnegie explained his reason for not giving libraries away and providing for their maintenance and their sites without obligating cities or towns to make a partial contribution by saying that when he was young he learned that a person can’t be boosted up a ladder

unless he climbs

some himself.

   He informed Mayor Wright that he has given away 2500 libraries since he conceived the idea that libraries are a necessity in almost every community.

  When he had completed his busy afternoon and was waiting for his train, Mr. Carnegie said:

  “I have received a splendid impression of Worcester today. I never had an opportunity before of seeing how great a city it is. I have never fully realized its importance until today. It is simply wonderful what a city you have here.

  “Your trade school is fine. It really is the only new thing I have seen for many months. It shows enterprise, and I can see it is accomplishing much good. You have the line of business here which makes it distinctly useful.

  “I am particularly pleased at being able to come here for even so short a time. I have seen much in the short time I have been here.

  “One fact that impresses me greatly is that my assistants inform me that Worcester supports its library as liberally, yes more liberally than any place outside with the exception of Springfield. Worcester and Springfield provide for their libraries equally well, and both are in Massachusetts.

  “It is wonderful how Worcester has grown. A population of 160,000 is a great population. The

population of Massachusetts,

3,500,000, is a wonderful population for the small state.

  “I have enjoyed myself wonderfully today.

  In the three cornerstones heavy copper boxes, hermetically sealed, were placed, containing these articles:--

  Worcester Telegram, March 24; Worcester Magazine for March; Worcester Gazette, March 2; Sven. March 19; Skandinavia, March 19; Osterns Weckoblad, March 19; L’Opinion Publique, March 22; Labor News, March 8; city manual for 1914; Catholic Messenger; public library annual reports from 1906 to 1911; Arts and Crafts, selected list; public library monthly bulletin for March 1913.

  Green vases, selected list; handbook for information on library; industrial books, selected list; rules of board of library directors, notes on history of movement for branch libraries and clippings of newspapers regarding them.

  Each of the branches cost about $25,000, outside the sites. The city has agreed to appropriate each year a sum for the maintenance of the branches. The South Worcester branch, on land given by Matthew J. Whitall and Alfred Thomas, costs slightly more than the other two. It faces Southbridge street, a short way from Cambridge street. The architect is

Henry D. Whitfield

and the builders the Central Building Co.

  The Quinsigamond branch at Millbury and Stebbins streets was designed by architects Fuller & Delano and is being built by John J. Power. The Greendale branch is at West Boylston street and Kendrick road and is being built by the Central Building Co. L.W. Briggs & Co. designed the building.

  Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie arrived in Worcester shortly after 2 o’clock. The mayor, directors of the free public library and members of the city council had gathered at union station to meet them, a committee of women, Mrs. George M. Wright, Mrs. James Logan, Mrs. Robert K. Shaw and Miss Ellen W. Coombs, being provided for the special comfort of Mrs. Carnegie.

  Mr. Carnegie was afforded ample police protection in every part of the city he visited. Upon his arrival there were Capt. Patrick F. O’Day of the detective force and Inspectors James J. Casey and Romanzo Thayer, who also remained close to the multi-millionaire during the whole of his visit. The police supplied details of patrolmen at the station upon his arrival and departure, and at the three branch libraries.

  When the train pulled in Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie were met by Hon. Loran and Prof. Coombs, president of the board of library directors, and escorted to

the waitingroom,

where they were greeted by the committees and city council members, shaking hands with all.

  The party then entered automobiles and went to the South Worcester branch, where Mr. Carnegie used a silver trowel to lay the cement under the cornerstone.

  After shaking hands with Matthew J. Whittall, Alfred Thomas, givers of the land, and M. Percival Whittall, and being greeted by about 250 people assembled to witness the laying of the cornerstone, the exercises began. The foundation for the library is practically completed.

  Prof. Coombs opened the exercises by briefly introducing Mr. Carnegie, saying, among other things:--

  “It is a great pleasure for me as president of the board of directors of the free public library, to be able to introduce to you today the generous donor of this library.

  “We are fortunate and highly honored in having our generous donor with us.”

  Mr. Carnegie was applauded as he stepped forward to speak. He said:

  “I came here today because I could not resist your invitation. When you informed me the city of Worcester was ready and desirous of having three branch libraries established in one day, I said to myself that it was something never done before in the history of the world.

  “If the man who makes it possible to have two blades of grass grow where one grew before is entitled to honor, what praise is fair to give Worcester whose

mayor and city council

establish three branch libraries where none were before?

  “This is the first time in the history of the world that a community planted three libraries in one afternoon.

  “I think Worcester is safe in keeping the record for 1000 years to come. (Applause.)

  “I rejoice greatly in having partners in this work. The givers of this site are worthy of honor. I want to shake hands with you. (Noticing they were on the opposite side of the excavation he saluted them, remarking ‘I salute you.’[)]

  “I trust I will never be separated from my partners.

  “I have been favored all my life by having partners who were smarter than I. I have been fortunate to have such men surround me and they have forced me into the millionaire class because I couldn’t help it.”

  “Give us the tip,” remarked Mr. Whittall across the excavation.

  “Yes, I’ll give you the tip, but not the tipple,” he replied instantly, and the gathering laughed.

  “I am glad I happened to get up that thought about breaking the record. It gives me a chance to save some of the things I was going to say for the other two branches,” he remarked in closing.

Mayor Wright then said

in part:

  “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 in 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.

  “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 appreciate your great generosity.

  “South Worcester appreciates what you have done, Mr. Carnegie. I am glad to be the spokesman of the people of this busy section of our city, and to say that as the years roll on your name will be revered and that even after all of us have given way and a new generation of sons and daughters of Worcester take up the work we lay down, this library, so freely given by you, will stand and dispense its rich rewards, and that the thousands who will receive its benefits will give honor to your name.”

  Henry D. Whitfield, New York, brother of Mrs. Carnegie, and architect of the South Worcester branch, joined the party at the

South Worcester branch.

  Mr. Carnegie then received the silver trowel from Prof. Coombs and set to work applying the cement under the cornerstone. The stone was then lowered and the metal box containing the records placed in it, after which the capstone was set on. That ended the exercises and the party started off for the Quinsigamond branch.

  On the way, Mr. Carnegie stopped to buy a pair of rubbers, as he realized that his feet were getting cold from the wet places he had to go through.

  Upon arrival at the Quinsigamond branch, Mr. Carnegie was greeted by a large crowd numbering 500. He shook hands with Robert L. Fuller of Fuller & Delano, architects of the library, and John J. Power, the builder.

  Prof. Coombs said, in introduction: “We are honored by the presence of the generous donor, whom I present to you now.”

  The large crowd applauded again. Mr. Carnegie said: --

  “I have only one word to say. I am thinking about the expression of the professor about my generosity and it reminds me of a story. After I gave New York city 60 branch libraries, the chairman of the committee grasped me by the hand and said: ‘I congratulate you.’ I said ‘You do what?” He repeated,

‘I congratulate you.’

‘What for?’ I asked. ‘For the 60 libraries you have given us.’ ‘You can’t congratulate me for that,’ I told him. ‘But if you want to congratulate me for the contract I have got with New York city to maintain them, you can. Shake.’

  “That’s how I feel about it. I feel the debt is on my side. I owe you a great debt, for you and the American Steel & Wire Co. being my partners in this work.

  “When you think of me, don’t think of me as a creditor. I am not a creditor. I am your deeply honored debtor.”

  The mayor was introduced and said, in part: --

  “I must take exception to Mr. Carnegie’s idea of who is the debtor. I don’t suppose the people realize how many generous gifts Mr. Carnegie has made to cities and towns. On the way down here he told me he had given 2500 libraries.”

  When the mayor had finished, Mr. Carnegie dipped the trowel into the cement and spread it over the stone. The metal box was placed in position and the stone lowered over it. The party again took the automobiles and headed for Greendale.

  Just before leaving Quinsigamond, Mr. Carnegie was introduced to ex-Alderman William Forsberg as the “mayor of Quinsigamond.” Mr. Forsberg handed Mr. Carnegie a letter from

Rev. Carl A. Seaberg,

pastor of the First Swedish Methodist church, expressing the thanks of the people of the church for the library and saying they were glad it was placed so near the church.

  The letter said the church will soon be repaired and remodeled to make it a suitable neighbor for the library.

  At the Greendale branch, situated at West Boylston street and Kendrick avenue, there was another large crowd of about 500. The houses in the vicinity of the library displayed American flags.

  Prof. Coombs again officiated and introduced Mr. Carnegie, who was in a jolly mood and said, in part: --

  “You will excuse me for not removing my hat while I say a few words to you. I am impressed by the fact that public-spirited citizens have given the land for this branch. I am by far richer than I expected, as I find I am not alone in this work. I have partners in whom I am very proud.

  “They tell me the manufacturers contributed this site. I contribute the building, and then you citizens maintain it.

  “I began early in life to learn that it isn’t what a man enjoys that counts, but what he gives. This community gives the library. It is a library of the people, the

organ of triumphant


  “The workmen can walk right in here with the mayor. The great authors of the world are to be here ready to confer, to talk and to work with them. The proudest mayor is no better here than the workmen, and how proud mayors can be sometimes, and how handsome.

  “Every one of you may be president some day. You boys have as much right in here as anybody. If the young lady librarian can’t attend to you at once, walk right up and say: ‘I’ve got a chance of being president some day, and I want a book. Please give it to me.’”

  Mayor White then said, in part: --

  “In completing the happy work of laying the cornerstones of the three Carnegie branch libraries, we come to one of the most beautiful sections of our city, which we call Greendale.

  “The Greendale manufacturers are identified in this library through the gift of this land. It was given by the Norton Co., Morgan Spring Co., Osgood Bradley Car Co., the Heald Machine Co., Worcester Pressed Steel Co., Allen-Higgins Wall Paper Co., Walker Grinder Co., Young Bros. and Norton Grinding Co.

  “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 enlightenment in the every-day 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.”

  Mr. Carnegie took the towel for the third time and laid on the cement, remarking as he began: “Watch how well I do this. I am used to the motions needed.” When he had laid on the cement the stone was lowered over the metal box, and the ceremony was ended. Then Mr. Carnegie met John E. Bradley, president of the Osgood Bradley Car Co., one of the donors of the site, and others.

  Dr. John H. Finley, president of the College of the city of New York, who was a speaker at the Womans club, joined the party at Greendale.

  The automobiles then started for Worcester trade school, where Mr. Carnegie and the party were shown through the establishment by Elmer H. Fish, manager of the school.

  On the way from Quinsigamond to Greendale, Mr. Carnegie was taken through Boynton and Salisbury streets and given a glimpse of Worcester polytechnic institute. He said it looked like a great institution.

  From the trade school, Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie were taken to union station and there shook hands with the members of the party.

  Mrs. Carnegie expressed herself as having had a fine time and

invited the women folks

to pay her a visit in New York. “It has been a day of unalloyed pleasure,” she said.

  Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie left Worcester for New York at 5 o’clock. They traveled in a parlor car.

  At union station upon their arrival was this police detail: Thomas J. Kelleher, Michael J. O’Flynn, Thomas F. O’Donnell, Lyman J. Gerton, Howard Aubertine, William R. Curran, Maurice F. Hayes and Robert E. Power. In addition to these when they left Worcester was Patrolman Jerome G. Barker.

  At South Worcester the detail was: Patrolmen George E. Power, Frederick R. Enman, Albert Huchinson, Bernard H. Conlin, Garret Fitzgerald, James B. McKenna and James P. Hackett, with Patrolman John J. Kenwick in charge.

  At Millbury and Stebbins streets, the detail was: Hollis H. Ball, James Duncan, Herbert J. Kinniery, George W. Anderson, Frank K. Blair, John D. Mahoney, John J. Murphy, Frank J. Meade, with Patrolman Axel H. Anderson in charge.

  The police detail at Greendale was: Patrolmen Patrick M. Prendergast, Carl I. Sundeen, Lyman J. Gorman, Thomas F. Loughlin, Charles J. Toomey, Howard Aubertine and Robert E. Power.


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