The photograph published here shows the Scottish-American entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie laying the foundation stone of the new Waterford Free Library on 19 October 1903. Seen in the photograph also are the lord Mayor, the Town Clerk, the Librarian, John J. Morrin, and the members of Waterford Borough Council in full-dress uniform.
Carnegie, born in Scotland in 1835 in humble circumstances, was taken by his parents to the United States where he became a successful businessman and millionaire, with interests in railways, iron and steel. He retired in 1901 to his native Scotland and devoted himself to philanthropic work, notably the provision of free library premises throughout Britain and Ireland. Many of the libraries set up at that time are still in use today. ♦