The Holdrege Business College

From the July 2013 Stereoscope

The Holdrege Business College By Susan Perry

Holdrege has had two business colleges which were in operation from 1903 through several more years. In 1903 the first business college and normal school were in operation. The school had S.S. Hayman as president, O.O. Hayman as principal and two teachers were on the staff. As the class sizes grew, more staff were added. Classes were offered in two broad fields. The business course offered classes in bookkeeping, penmanship, commercial arithmetic, commercial law, business forms, practical English, letter writing, actual business practice, rapid calculation, banking and spelling. The shorthand course included shorthand, practical English, letter writing, typewriting, penmanship, rapid calculation, carbon copying, letter press copying, spelling and actual office experience. There were special classes, such as fancy lettering and engrossing flourishing offered for an additional fee.The daily sessions were Monday through Friday, 9-12 and 1-4, with no Saturday nor holiday classes. Night classes were also scheduled. There were no vacations and no term divisions. Though classes began in early September, pupils could enter the class at any time. Students from the surrounding area would board in rooms or boarding houses recommended by the school. There were several payment schedules, depending on how long the student intended to be enrolled—all to be paid in advance. Evidently some students could not attend for part of the year, so if they paid for the “scholarship course” ($105 in advance), they could attend school as time permitted and could receive the full education, regardless of how long was required. Tuition was not refunded, but credit was given for excused absence of one or more weeks. This school was housed in the Trammell Building on the second floor in the building east of the alley between East and West Avenue on Fourth Avenue. In 1904 there were 76 students. The year before they had a football team which played Holdrege High School in their first game. They won over HHS, 10-0.This school continued until 1907, and from their promotional handbooks, their attendance continued to grow. Yet that year the school closed and this notice was in the January 24th issue of the Holdrege Citizen: “O.O. Hayman has given up all pretense of running a business college and this week moved his family to Grand Island. It is a matter of regret that the business college had to be given up, but it is the current opinion that the main trouble was poor financial management rather than a poor field. The field surely warrants such an institution and it is to be hoped someone will come in and build up a good institution.”In 1908 that “someone” came from California to open the Holdrege Business College again. Professor and Mrs. J. F. Schuck and W.P. Talbot arrived and started a “complete, up-to-date and thorough institution equal to any in the country.”Their curriculum was almost identical to the previous school’s classes, and their fees were just a bit higher. They began in September in the Trammell Building, the same location as housed the first college. They later moved to 303 East Avenue and to 411 West Avenue. There the study hall was 50×20. The school has “an abundance of light, the windows being many and large. The classrooms are fitted up with modern seating, blackboards, etc., a large typewriting room, shorthand room, office etc.” These colleges prepared students for many jobs available in Holdrege and the area, and we are fortunate to have the community college here to continue this valuable service to those wishing to further their education. — end

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