Carnegie, Dale 1888-1955

views updated

CARNEGIE, Dale 1888-1955


Born November 23, 1888, in Marysville, MO; died November 1, 1955, in Forest Hills, NY; son of James Carnagey (a farmer); married Lolita Baucaire, 1921 (divorced); married Dorothy Prince Vanderpool, 1943; children: (second marraige) Donna Dale. Education: Warrensburg State Teachers College, received degree, 1908.


Consultant, author, and speaker. Worked as a salesman for International Correspondence School and as a meat packing supply salesman for Armour Foods; Young Men's Christian Association, Harlem NY, instructor in public speaking until c. 1914; founder of Carnegie Institute and instructor in effective public speaking, beginning c. 1914; business manager for journalist Lowell Thomas. Military service: U.S. Army; served during World War I.


How to Win Friends and Influence People, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1936, revised edition, 1981.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1948, revised edition, edited by Dorothy Carnegie, 1984.

Also author of The Art of Public Speaking, 1915; Lincoln the Unknown, 1932; and Little-known Facts about Well-known People, 1934.


Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People made an incredible splash when it was first published in 1936. It is credited with creating a new genre in writing: the self-help book. Carnegie's most famous book, which is full of tips on becoming comfortable in social situations, remains an indispensable resource for individuals and business people who dread public speaking and shrink at the though of making small talk in social situations. Proof of its popularity can be found in the fact that it has been revised several times since its inception and has never been out of print. From the 1920s to the present day the Dale Carnegie teachings have continually been popular with companies and individuals alike.

Carnegie was born in rural Missouri in 1888, and he and his brother helped out on the family farm. As a young man, Carnegie was struck by the oratory prowess of the Chautauqua performers who stopped occasionally near his home, offering entertainment and education at local fairs. Soon his fascination led him to join and excel at the debate team in high school. Carnegie's widow, Dorothy, adeptly summed up his ambition in a 1987 New York Times article: "He was just a poor farm boy who wasn't good at athletics, but he wanted girls to notice him."

After graduating from Warrensburg State Teachers College in 1908, Carnegie ran through several jobs in quick succession, including selling correspondence courses and a position as a salesman for Armour Foods. Carnegie's first attempts at teaching were quite modest. After moving to New York City, he began teaching night-school classes in public speaking at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Harlem. Around 1914 he left the YMCA and created his own school for effective public speaking. His business became so successful that in 1916 he rented out Carnegie Hall for one of his famous lectures. Carnegie served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and upon his return to civilian life he took a position as a business manager for a well-to-do radio personality. Around this time, he met and married his first wife, Lolita Baucaire. Unfortunately, they would divorce within ten years.

As the post-war economic boom took place, Carnegie was there, stressing the importance of personal-speaking and communication skills. Once again, his public-speaking business was in great demand and it made him a very wealthy man. In 1936, after being prodded to action by a Simon & Schuster editor, he published How to Win Friends and Influence People, which distills techniques gleaned from years of instructing at his public-speaking institute. Even during the darkest days of the Great Depression, it held its ground as a bestseller. The book advocates developing your listening skills, suggests six ways to get a person to like you, and instills a dozen ways to turn dissenters around to your opinion.

After the whirlwind success of How to Win Friends and Influence People Carnegie continued lecturing and operating his institute. At one lecture he met Dorothy Prince Vanderpool, who would become his second wife in 1943. The couple had one daughter, Donna Dale. In 1955 the international guru of public speaking died in Forest Hills, New York.



Contemporary Heroes and Heroines, Book 3, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.


Boston Transcript, January 2, 1937, p. 1.

New York Times, February 14, 1937, p. 12; December 13, 1987.

Saturday Review of Literature, January 30, 1937.

Springfield Republican, January 7, 1937, p. 8.*


Dale Carnegie Training Web site, (September 29, 2003).*

About this article

Carnegie, Dale 1888-1955

Updated About content Print Article