Thursday, 17 December 2015

80th birthday celebrations of Dunfermline's most famous son

In the Dunfermline Journal and Advertiser for West Fife 100 years ago this weekend (to be specific the 18 December 1915 issue)

Welcome to the new blog post from Dunfermline News 100 years Ago.  Sorry there was no blog post last week, my personal life intervened but I'm back on schedule now!

Dunfermline's most famous son is of course Andrew Carnegie who was 80 this week 100 years ago and the following report appeared in the local paper:

Mr Carnegie The 80th Birthday Celebrations

The "Scottish American" in its account of the celebration of the 80th birthday of Mr Carnegie describes the octogenarian as in excellent health.  It notices the fact that in exemplification of his frequently expressed principle, that it is a disgrace for a man to die rich, he has distributed 324,657,300 dollars.  It adds - "He is even declared to be no longer wealthy though his present wealth is placed at 20,000,000 dollars which to many men would be wealth even beyond the dreams of avarice but which means to him that for every twenty dollars he has earned he has given away about eighteen or nineteen.  What man who ever lived has done more than that? 

But to turn from moralising to the day just celebrated at the ironmaster's palace at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Ninety-first Street, there was a constant stream of messenger boys delivering felicitations and hopes for many a return of the auspicious day.  Many called to leave their congratulations in person and not a few of those were greeted by the smiling hearty octogenarian the Laird of Skibo. He had started the day with his usual game of Clock Golf in the great yard at the rear of his house and was in fine fettle. 

In the afternoon when the throng of friends in the library had become great he appeared at the head of the grand staircase and listened to the singing by members of the Oratorio Society of which he has been president for 27 years of Beethoven's hymns "Ode to Joy" which was followed by one of his favourite Scottish airs "The Piper of Dundee".  He was much affected, remarking that the music was "almost too heavenly to be of this earth". 

Message of congratulations came to Mr Carnegie from all over the world.  There were more than a thousand telegrams and cablegrams besides a bushel of letters.  He later had dinner with Mrs Carnegie and his daughter and Mr and Mrs George Lauder of Pittsburg. 

With such evidence of universal affection Mr Carnegie can certainly regard his life as having been well spent and appreciated and can cheerily face the future and receive strength to live to the centenary mark - his present ambition.  That he may be spared to see the century mark will be the hope ? of all his friends for the good he can yet do and have done.  In that time he may have some of his great ambitions brought near realisation: first the ratio he has already given practical illustration of in regard to personal wealth; second that there will be a sure establishment of universal peace; and with the accomplishment of those the third and consequent of these the arrival of time when:

"Man to man the world o'er shall brothers be for a' that."

Such indeed are the cardinal foundational principles of that universal human welfare which Andrew Carnegie has done so much to advance and make possible.  May he live to be a hundred and more to see their fruition."

Unfortunately Andrew Carnegie did not manage his centenary and died in 1919!

Tune in next week to see what happened in Dunfermline next week 100 years ago ..........

Blog written by Jacqueline Hunter of Ancestral Research by Jacqueline, Dunfermline, Scotland. Please email me at if I can help you with your family history research.

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