Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. In 1848, the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Carnegie eventually made his fortune in the steel industry. In 1900, he sold his steel company, to become the "richest man in the world" and dedicated his time to philanthropy. Carnegie created many funds, charities, and foundations to distribute his wealth, but the bulk would go towards education, mainly libraries. Carnegie was strongly opposed to war and used his finances for publications and conferences to promote peace. Through his efforts, he established eleven national hero funds, three temples of peace and an endowment for international peace. Andrew Carnegie died on August 11, 1919.
Carnegie stated that a first class technical school would develop the latent talent of future generations in the Pittsburgh area. In November 1900, Carnegie presented a letter of gift to the mayor of Pittsburgh offering funds for a school of technology. The city of Pittsburgh purchased 32 acres adjoining Schenley Park in February 1903, followed by ground breaking in March 1905. The charter class of 1908 began classes in October 1905, comprising 120 students in engineering and architecture. The first class graduated in June 1908, with 54 diplomas presented. In March 1912, the Technical Schools was changed to the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Andrew Carnegie visited the school five times between April 1907 and October 1914.
The Andrew Carnegie Collections are comprised of four smaller collections of material related to Andrew Carnegie and were digitized with funding from the Pennsylvania Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These collections are held at multiple Pittsburgh institutions, and the project was an effort to make this information available to researchers in a one location.
These collections are an effort to make some of the information about Andrew Carnegie held by multiple Pittsburgh libraries available in one location and were digitized with funding from the Pennsylvania Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
Andrew Carnegie Collection
The Andrew Carnegie Collection is available in the Carnegie Mellon University Archives. It is composed of material collected and donated to the archives by multiple individuals. Present in the collection is material covering Carnegie's life, interests, and experiences, including the founding of Carnegie Tech, correspondence connected to Carnegie Tech, various speeches given, his writings, records pertaining to several of his philanthropy organizations, and different pieces of memorabilia ranging from programs and pamphlets to physical items.
Only a subset of the collection has been digitized and made available online. Material that hasn’t been digitized, including books and memorabilia, is available for research in the Carnegie Mellon University Archives.
James Bertram Collection
The James Bertram Collection is held by the Carnegie Mellon University Archives and contains the papers of James Bertram (1873-1935), who was Andrew Carnegie's personal secretary and a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation. The Collection relates primarily to Mr. Bertram's life while Secretary of the Carnegie Corporation of New York (1911-1934) with the bulk of the material from 1926-1935.
James Bertram served as confidential secretary to Andrew Carnegie from 1897-1914 and as Secretary for the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1911-1934.
Mr. Bertram was born in Corstorphine, Scotland. He attended the Corstorphine parish school and graduated from Daniel Stewart's College, Edinburgh in 1888. Mr. Bertram applied for the position of personal secretary to Andrew Carnegie through Dr. Hew Morrison, Chief Librarian of the Edinburgh Public Library. Mr. Bertram began as Mr. Carnegie's Confidential Secretary on December 1, 1897 at Skibo Castle, Scotland. Mr. Bertram served as Mr. Carnegie's Confidential Secretary from 1897 to 1914. Mr. Bertram was also the Secretary of the Carnegie Corporation of New York from its incorporation in 1911 to his death in 1934. All together Mr. Bertram served Mr. Carnegie and the Carnegie Corporation for thirty-seven years. As Confidential Secretary, Mr. Bertram carried out personal assignments made by Mr. Carnegie and assisted Carnegie in the distribution of his wealth. Mr. Bertram took it upon himself to organize and formalize donations of church organs and library buildings, the two types of donations for which Mr. Carnegie was most famous. Mr. Bertram saw himself as a buffer between the applicants and Mr. Carnegie, essentially deciding upon all requests for donations of church organs and library buildings himself. The consideration of applications for donations of both church organs and library buildings ceased in 1917.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York was incorporated in 1911 to "promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding among the people of the United States and the British Dominions and Canada." Mr. Bertram traveled on behalf of the Carnegie Corporation of New York in the United States, Canada, the British Dominions, including British Guiana, and parts of Africa in support of this mission. Mr. Bertram was voted the Secretary of the Corporation, was made a life trustee and served on its executive committee. Mr. Bertram's influence on the decisions on broad policies of the Corporation grew over time. He provided his services to the Board until his sudden death on October 23, 1934.
Apart from his professional duties, Mr. Bertram was a husband and father. In 1904 he married Janet Tod Ewing (d1949). The marriage produced one daughter, Jean Ewing Bertram. Miss Bertram would later wed Mr. James L. Burke. When not traveling, the Bertrams lived in New York. Mrs. Bertram and Mr. and Mrs. Burke would later live in New Rochelle, New York.
The James Bertram Collection relates primarily to Mr. Bertram's life while Secretary of the Carnegie Corporation of New York (1911-1934) with the bulk of the material from 1926-1935. The collection is mostly correspondence regarding Mr. Bertram's duties at the Carnegie Corporation, including correspondence between Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Bertram, correspondence with libraries regarding Carnegie funds, correspondence with the Carnegie Institution of Washington and other similar Institutions, and other organizations regarding libraries and books in general. Also prominent in the collection is material relating to Mr. Bertram's personal life, including correspondence with Mrs. Carnegie and evidence of his travels abroad.
The collections also include the Andrew Carnegie Correspondence Collection and the Margaret Barclay Wilson Collection, which are held by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Accessing the Collection
The Andrew Carnegie Collections are located at the Carnegie Mellon University Archives and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
The Andrew Carnegie Collection and the James Bertram Collection are available for research in the Carnegie Mellon University Archives. Contact the archives to schedule an appointment.
1861 - 1977
Much of this collection is in the public domain. Questions regarding items still in copyright should be directed to the Carnegie Mellon University Archives or the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, depending on the collection.