James Bertram (Carnegie secretary)

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James Bertram (1872–1934) was the personal secretary of Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist and philanthropist, from 1897-1914. Bertram also served the Carnegie Corporation of New York from its inception in 1911 as secretary and trustee until his death in 1934. He thus continued to have an important role in Carnegie's philanthropic projects after Carnegie's death in 1919.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bertram was born in Corstorphine, near Edinburgh, the Scottish capital where was educated at Daniel Stewart's College.[1] His first position was with the Great Northern and Northeastern Railway company in Edinburgh. He emigrated to South Africa, where he continued to work in the railway industry. He returned to Scotland for health reasons in 1897, and was recruited by Andrew Carnegie, who had recently acquired a Scottish home, Skibo Castle.

Activities in the USA[edit]

In the USA Bertram took a close interest in the new Carnegie libraries, commenting on the architectural plans submitted by applicants. Bertram's interventions discouraged extravagant architectural features and encouraged adherence to published guidelines. Bertram authored Notes on Library Buildings, a work which included complete plans, in 1910.[2] Bertram also involved himself with grants for pipe organs, and other projects.[1] Booker T. Washington's published correspondence gives details of how Bertram acted as an intermediary between Carnegie and the recipients of his largesse.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Benford, Jennie (2004-11-16). "James Bertram Collection". Carnegie Mellon Libraries. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  2. ^ Kirk F. Mohney (October 11, 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Milo Public Library" (PDF). National Park Service. p. 3. Retrieved July 13, 2016.  with two photos from 1988
  3. ^ Booker T. Washington Papers By Booker Taliaferro Washington, Louis R. Harlan, Raymond Smock. See these pages on Google books.