Andrew Carnegie, c. 1905, Oil on canvas by Unidentified Artist
The individual who amasses great wealth, declared Pittsburgh steelmaker Andrew Carnegie in his 1889 essay "Gospel of Wealth," must in the end apply his fortune for the benefit of all. Having built one of the world's largest fortunes, Carnegie took his mandate seriously. During his lifetime, he turned over a staggering $350 million, or nine-tenths of his total wealth, for benevolent purposes. Carnegie's unprecedented largesse was matched only by its social impact. His Teachers Pension Fund raised instructional standards in colleges; his many library endowments provided Americans with a national system of public libraries; and the Carnegie Corporation, established in 1911, became the prototype for the great philanthropic foundations of the modern day. During the last years of his life, Carnegie devoted his energies to world peace, encouraging the great powers to settle their conflicts through arbitration rather than war.