"The third delightful task was founding the Hero Fund, in which my whole heart was concerned. I had heard of a serious accident in a coal pit near Pittsburgh, and how the former superintendent, Mr. Taylor, although then engaged in other pursuits, had instantly driven to the scene, hoping to be of use in the crisis. Rallying volunteers, who responded eagerly, he led them down the pit to rescue those below. Alas, alas, he the heroic leader lost his own life.

I could not get the thought of this out of my mind. My dear, dear friend, Mr. Richard Watson Gilder, had sent me the following true and beautiful poem, and I re-read it the morning after the accident, and resolved then to establish the Hero Fund.


'T was said: "When roll of drum and battle's roar
Shall cease upon the earth, O, then no more
The deed-the race-of heroes in the land."
But scarce that word was breathed when one small hand
Lifted victorious o'er a giant wrong
That had its victims crushed through ages long;
Some woman set her pale and quivering face
Firm as a rock against a man's disgrace;
A little child suffered in silence lest
His savage pain should wound a mother's breast;
Some quiet scholar flung his gauntlet down
And risked, in Truth's great name, the synod's frown;
A civic hero, in the calm realm of laws,
Did that which suddenly drew a world's applause;
And one to the pest his lithe young body gave
That he a thousand thousand lives might save.

Hence arose the five-million-dollar fund to reward heroes, or to support the families of heroes, who perish in the effort to serve or save their fellows, and to supplement what employers or others do in contributing to the support of the families of those left destitute through accidents. This fund, established April 15, 1904, has proved from every point of view a decided success. I cherish a fatherly regard for it since no one suggested it to me. As far as I know, it never had been thought of; hence it is emphatically "my ain bairn." Later I extended it to my native land, Great Britain, with headquarters at Dunfermline-the Trustees of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust undertaking its administration, and splendidly have they succeeded. In due time it was extended to France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark."

From "Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie" by Andrew Carnegie Published 1920