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Oakland: Louise Whitfield Carnegie


Louise Whitfield Carnegie
BORN: 7 March 1857.
DIED: 24 June 1946.

  • On Tuesday, June 24, Mrs. Andrew Carnegie died at her home in New York City, in her eighty-ninth year. This brought to an end a long and exceptional life of great distinction and fine living. Although since the death of her husband in 1919 Mrs. Carnegie had seldom visited Pittsburgh, she was known to many here for her high purpose, kindliness, and nobility of character.
    Notwithstanding the great wealth and prominence of her husband, she played her individual part in all his philanthropies as a counselor and an enthusiastic co-planner in his hopes for the betterment of the human race. She was self-effacing in her own benefactions, which were many, but fully lived up to what she felt to be the responsibilities placed upon her by her opportunities for service. A true lady in the old fashioned sense of the word, she was most gracious and kindly to all with whom she came in contact and could well be taken as an outstanding example of American womanhood. (3)

  • Mrs. Carnegie Dies at 89 in New York.
    Mrs. Andrew Carnegie, 89, widow of the steel maker and philanthropist, died today at her Fifth Ave. mansion in New York City, according to an Associated Press report.
    A retiring woman, whose philanthropies always were conducted quietly, she had been in failing health for more than a year.
    A daughter, Mrs. Roswell Miller of New York, was at her bedside. A granddaughter, Mrs. Gordon Thompson, flew from England May 12 to be with her.
    Visited Pittsburgh.
    During her last public appearance in Pittsburgh, years ago, Mrs. Carnegie looked at the institutions of learning and culture her husband had given the city, and declared:
    "Here is the best conception of the idea of the brotherhood of man. I have never enjoyed a visit to any part of the world as I have this visit to Pittsburgh."
    The former Louise Whitfield of New York, she had married Mr. Carnegie in 1887--38 years after he came to Pittsburgh from Scotland to work as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory. He had hitched his wagon to the rising stars of iron and steel and was a wealthy but lonely man.
    Gave Away Half Billion.
    Soon after their marriage he became the richest man the world has ever seen and one of the happiest.
    Speaking of his life with his 'beloved Lou,' Carnegie said:
    "Why, oh why, are we compelled to leave the heaven we have found on earth and go we know not where?"
    With his wife's help Carnegie also became a great philanthropist. In the 18 years from 1901 to 1919 he gave away the bulk of his fortune of half a billion dollars at the rate of $25,000,000 a year.
    Many Beneficiaries.
    His beneficiaries included old employees, old friends, educational institutions, organizations for world peace, several nations, a United States President, three President's wives, a British prime minister and the City of Pittsburgh.
    The various money-giving corporations which he established still pour out from four to five million dollars a year.
    One night in August, 1919, after Mrs. Carnegie had said good night to her husband, he sank into his last sleep. He was buried on top of a small hill in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery near Tarrytown, N.Y.
    Lived in Scotland.
    During the last 27 years, Mrs. Carnegie led a quiet, retiring life in New York and Scotland. She met annually with the members of her late husband's corporations, made suggestions, and took great pride in their work. Meanwhile, she kept giving away sums of her own money.
    On the occasion of the Carnegie Centennial in 1935, a little gray-haired lady with a kindly voice, she reminisced:
    "Pittsburgh has a warm place in my heart. I have so many recollections of the lovely, affectionate friends whom I knew there."
    Her last public appearance with Andrew had been in Pittsburgh. He had said of her:
    "Peace and good will attend her footsteps wherever her blessed influence extends." (4)

  • The great Carnegie wealth, which Louise Whitfield had feared, she made her servant. (5)


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