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Here Lies a Man Who Knew How to Enlist in His Service Better Men Than Himself

Andrew Carnegie died at the age of 84 on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts. His death was brought on by pneumonia, but his wife and others speculated that his frustrating and unsuccessful attempts at securing peace during World War I—as well as its outcome—weakened him.

Carnegie died in the Berkshires in his country home, Shadowbrook, which was then the second-largest house in the US. Too weak to travel to Skibo, his estate in Scotland, he purchased Shadowbrook in 1917, where he retreated to spend the final years of his life as a recluse, save for a handful of family members and friends.

Following his death, there was a brief memorial service attended by his wife Louise, daughter Margaret, nieces and nephews, conductor and composer Walter Damrosch, and a dozen business associates. From Shadowbrook, his body was taken in a private train car to Tarrytown, New York, and buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. By his wish, there were no public memorials erected in Scotland, Pittsburgh, or New York. Also at his request, there was no ceremony at his burial site.

In a 1901 speech in Hoboken, in which he presented the Stevens Institute of Technology—where he was a trustee—with a new engineering laboratory, Carnegie stated that he wished to have his tombstone inscribed with the words, “Here lies a man who knew how to enlist in his service better men than himself.” This did not happen; instead, chiseled into the base of a simple Celtic cross is the following inscription:

ANDREW CARNEGIE
BORN DUNFERMLINE SCOTLAND 25 NOVEMBER 1835
DIED LENOX MASSACHUSETTS AUGUST 11 1919

 

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