The immigration story of Hero Fund founder Andrew Carnegie – as told by great-granddaughter and Commission member Linda T. Hills – is included in more than 70 essays about journeying to America in a book recently released by RosettaBooks.
Editors Andrew Tisch and Mary Skafidas, who heads investor relations and corporate communication for Loews Corporation, compiled the 72 essays about “immigration and American greatness” in Journeys: An American Story. Noted in the book’s description, the book “celebrates the vastness and variety of immigration tales in America … This is a collection of family lore, some that has been passed down through generations, and some that is being created right now.”
In 2016, Tisch, co-chairman of the board of Loews Corporation, spoke at a swearing-in ceremony for 100 new citizens from 41 different countries held in the New-York Historical Society’s auditorium. Tisch stated later that the ceremony made him consider how an individual’s or family’s arrival in the United States is a monumental event in that family’s history.
What began in 1607 with the Jamestown settlement would eventually inspire individuals from all over the world to chase down the American dream. Although the archetypal desire of “the American dream” is often classified as the motivator for immigration, Tisch and Skafidas dug deeper to unearth the reason that desire was so fervent. They separated the narratives into categories and sorted them by the rationales for making the journey to America. Ten categories arose: the changers, lovers, originals, rescuers, seekers, strivers, survivors, trailblazers, undocumented, and institutions.
Among those chapters are essays written by MASH actor Alan Alda (lovers), Astoriaborn singer Tony Bennett and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (trailblazers), and the American Ballet Theatre (institutions).
Hills’ essay (in the changers chapter) shares the story of Carnegie’s immigration that took place nearly 170 years ago.
“In 1848 the most compelling reasons to immigrate were very similar to the way they are today,” Hills wrote. Master weaver William Carnegie, Carnegie’s father, could not find work when industrialization hit Dunfermline, Scotland.
So, to the West the Carnegie family of four journeyed, crossing the Atlantic Ocean and then traveling for three weeks up the Erie Canal through Buffalo, across Lake Erie to Cleveland, and up the Ohio River to Pittsburgh, where, Hills wrote, “Scottish friends and family awaited them.”
Throughout the essay, Hills details Carnegie’s work and philanthropic endeavors in America.
“From working with railroad sleeper cars, to building bridges, to eventually founding the largest steel company in the world, Carnegie was an exceptional individual,” she wrote.
Carnegie established 24 philanthropic institutions, 22 which are still active today, including the Carnegie Hero Fund, founded to “celebrate the noblest behavior of which human beings may be capable,” Hills quoted in the essay.
Hills concludes the essay with a hope for the future: “We are an open and welcoming people, and I hope that will never change,” she wrote.
All profits from Journeys: An American Story will be donated to the New-York Historical Society and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The book can be purchased at online book sellers. For more information, visit journeysanamericanstory.com
— Lauryn Maykovich, intern