Andrew Carnegie and the Pipe Organ




Andrew Carnegie died at his summer home in Lenox, August 11, 1919, in his eighty-fourth year. He was regarded by the world as one of the most remarkable men of his age—and in certain ways he was unique among men of all ages. He was equally great as a man of practical affairs and as an idealist. The present publication reveals both of these qualities operating through great institutions which he founded and endowed for the good of his fellow men. In the thought that he had worked for the realization of certain ideals he discovered the secret of a serene and happy spirit, a characteristic which marked his life, especially after his retirement from business and up to the day of his death. The present volume, already compiled and on the eve of publication at the moment of his death, outlines the beneficent aims of the great foundations he established—their methods and something of their services to mankind. It is therefore the most practical memorial of Andrew Carnegie that can be compiled. It brings together in one volume for the first time the series of remarkable letters which Mr. Carnegie wrote in establishing his public benefactions, each letter revealing some distinct phase of his idealism.

The Manual will also serve a very useful purpose. The general public has but a vague conception of the vast extent of these benefactions and of the noble purposes to which they are dedicated. Some definite idea may be obtained from this volume of the steadily increasing benefits they are destined to confer upon science, education and mankind. The plans of the founder and of the administrators of these great institutions will, as the years roll on, be of cumulative significance.

Mr. Carnegie accumulated large wealth by his remarkable business ability, his tireless industry and his clear prevision of the enormous development of the country of his adoption. His own conception of his duty and his responsibility was that his fortune belonged to the world in which he was permitted to live and under whose laws he was enabled to acquire it. The "Gospel of Wealth" by which he was governed is set forth tersely in the single sentence on the title page of this Manual, a philosophy which he first formulated in an article in the North American Review for June, 1889, and since published in pamphlet form. This article carries what is in many respects the most remarkable message ever conveyed by one man to his fellow men. The contents of this Manual give some of the evidence, though by no means all of it, that Mr. Carnegie has lived up to his ideals, and that those whom he selected to carry out his trusts are administering them in accordance with these ideals. To group the visible evidences of these ideals, to show at a glance their relations to each other, and to make clear the outcomes already large of this man’s consistent and carefully wrought out plans will demonstrate the profound and unselfish desire of a true friend of humanity, and encourage all who hope for a healthier society.



Andrew Carnegie was always sensitive to the influence of music and often quoted the Oriental sage—" 0 Music, sacred tongue of God, I hear thee calling, and I come." To such an extent did organ music affect him that he has testified that listening to an organ was to him a devotional experience. He has been perfectly candid in saying that, while he would not be responsible for what the preacher might say, he would be responsible for the influence of music in a church. Accordingly, when some devoutly religious relatives in his earlier Pittsburgh days pressed him for a large contribution to a church in which they were interested, he compromised on an organ. Thus was begun the provision of funds for the purchase of musical instruments in churches all over the English-speaking world, the aggregate number of churches receiving help in the purchase of musica] instruments now numbering 7689, of which 4092 are in the United States.

Before many organs had been provided by Mr. Carnegie, it appeared necessary to standardize organ gifts. One effective means was the adoption of a rule to pay but half the cost of the organ, leaving the congregation to raise the other half. Standardization tentatively begun became practicable as data accumulated, and it was less difficult to arrive at a reasonable price to pay for a musical instrument for a church of a given size.

Applications received from churches for the purchase of musical instruments numbered as high as three thousand in one year, from all the English-speaking world. From churches in the United States and Canada alone, they numbered as high as 2250 in a year. During the last twenty years approximately 40,000 applications from churches for the purchase of musical instruments have been received and dealt with by Mr. Carnegie and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

When an application from the pastor or trustees of a church was received, a schedule of questions was sent. The form used, as in the case of some of the library printed forms, is the sixth revision. Since it seemed impossible to frame questions which would avoid ambiguous or evasive answers, a memorandum relating to the questions was prepared and sent with thorn. This also was revised a number of times. While the schedule of questions with the memorandum accompanying them seemed incapable of misinterpretation, frequently considerable correspondonce was required to elicit precise facts and figures hearing on the question of whether a subsidy should be given to the church, and if so, how much the church would be justified in spending for a musical instrument, the basis of consideration being the assumption that we were dealing with needy churches which would naturally he satisfied with modest musical instruments.

As to the general results of Mr. Carnegie’s many benefactions to churches for the purchase of musical instruments, the following paragraphs may be quoted from the report of an independent investigator:

  The pastors of the churches visited were questioned closely as to the effect produced upon the contributions of the members by a gift as large as that made by the Corporation. The unanimous declaration was made that it had been a stimulus to individual giving and in many instances illustrative figures were presented to show that the benefactions of the church had been doubled since the installation of the organ. A part of such increase was usually ascribed to the larger congregations attracted by the better music.

  In no instance was it acknowledged that the gift had had a pauperizing influence. On the contrary, it was frequently asserted that the application for assistance had not been made until the church had made a strenuous effort to buy an organ and had failed, and then when it was learned that by raising one-half the required amount the Corporation would contribute an equal sum, new life was given to church workers. Their success afforded a proof of their giving potentiality and set a standard which the pastor cited in all subsequent appeals for contributions.

 It was gratifying to receive the assurance in every single instance that the organ was in use at every service. The only exception was that in some of the Southern cities where the heat made it necessary to hold services in the basement during two months of summer.

The investigator summarized his conclusions as follows:

 1. Churches are contributing instrumentalities in the social and cultural advancement of a community—the aggregate of communities make the Nation.

 2. The efficiency of the services of a church is augmented by the use of a pipe organ, hence, through the church, the organ indirectly contributes to the social and cultural advancement of the community, and

 3. Directly, the organ when used in recitals and by students of music, renders an important cultural service.


Summaries of Organ Donations


Andrew Carnegie Donations for Estey Pipe Organs


Opus No.







Laurel Avenue Presbyterian Church Johnston PA
31 1902  Fifth Street Methodist Church Harrisburg PA
52 1903  Bridge Street Presbyterian Church Catasqua PA
53 1903  Lower Providence Presbyterian Church Eaglesville PA
66 1903  St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church Columbia PA
83 1903  St. John's Reformed Church Mifflinburg PA
97 1904  First Methodist Church Media PA
133 1904  Methodist Church Bedford PA
140 1904  St. Luke's Reformed Church Trappe PA
166 1904  Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity Jersey City NJ
186 1904  Presbyterian Church Hamilton Square NJ
207 1905  Ebenezer Methodist Church West Philadelphia PA
246 1905  First Presbyterian Church Cape May City NJ
247 1905  Baptist Church New Britain PA
287 1905  Methodist Church Sayre PA
476 1907  Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church Plymouth MA
606 1908  Presbyterian Church Center Moriches PA
611 1908  Metropoplitan Temple New York NY
624 1908  Congregational Church Fulton NY
679 1909  Fulton Avenue United Bretheren Church Baltimore MD
683   1909  Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church Lakeport NH
703   1909  Meade Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church Nesquehonig PA
742 1910  Capitol Hill Methodist Episcopal Church Denver CO
882 1911  Methodist Episcopal Church Stoughton MA
959 1912  First Baptist Church Terrell TX
1003 1912  Central Baptist Church Chelmsford MA
1008 1912  First Baptist Church Randolph VT
1160 1913  First Presbyterian Church Antrim NH
1242   1914  Trinity Church of United Bretheren New Cumberland PA
1263 1914  First Congregational Church Whately MA
1279 1914  Northside Unitarian Church Pittsburgh PA


1914  First Baptist Church Anoka MN


1916 First Baptist Church Hope Valley RI


1904  Methodist Church Dauphin PA


A Manual of the Public Benefactions of Andrew Carnegie, S.N.D. North, Editor
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