We likely know that Andrew Carnegie endowed many American cities and towns with free public libraries. We may not have heard of Colonel James Anderson, the man chiefly responsible for Carnegie’s generosity. A retired manufacturer in Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Anderson had 400 books in his library. He wanted to share them with working boys—he had been one as a lad. Those boys could pick up a book at his house each Saturday. They could get another when they returned the book a week later.
It proved so popular that, when Anderson’s library grew to 1800 volumes, he established a public library, with a paid librarian in charge.
One rule limited the effect of his largesse. Only boys known as “bound apprentices” could borrow books. That eliminated boys who held jobs but weren’t “bound apprentices.” Among them was Andrew Carnegie, gainfully employed in a telegraph office, but without a contract. When enough letters of protest reached the librarian, she consulted Anderson, who freed his books to all working boys, including young Carnegie.
Carnegie never forgot Anderson’s generosity. And chose it as the model for his own free library system. He erected a monument to Anderson at Allegheny, as so many libraries would build monuments to him in years to come. – End Part I –
Books at: www.createspace.com. (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)
Apologetics book: Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1
Books also at www.amazon.com (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley)
New book: The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741