Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era; his 1889 article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated wave after wave of philanthropy.
Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and emigrated to the United States with his very poor parents in 1848. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860’s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe. He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million (the equivalent of approximately $13.5 billion in 2012), creating the U.S. Steel Corporation.