“I spoke again at Dunfermline, July 27, 1881, when my mother laid the foundation stone there of the first free library building I ever gave. My father was one of five weavers who founded the earliest library in the town by opening their own books to their neighbors. Dunfermline named the building I gave “Carnegie Library.” The architect asked for my coat of arms. I informed him I had none, but suggested that above the door there might be carved arising sun shedding its rays with the motto: “Let there be light.” This he adopted.
From working in a mining pit without light as a kid after emigrating from Scotland at age 12, he built the Pittsburgh Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for $303 million. It became the U.S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American for the next several years.
He became a leading philanthropist in the USA and British Empire, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education, and scientific research giving away 90 percent of his fortune.