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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
BAYLESS BUSINESS COLLEGE
The college, founded on September 1, 1858, by Aaron Baylies, formerly of the Milwaukee Commercial College, originally used rooms above the old Log Tavern.(1) The first students, enrolled on October 1, 1858, paid tuition of five dollars per course. Students were also to supply their own spittoon. Such expenses often led to tuition being given in exchange for titles to wild lands or city lots. (2)
On June 16, 1862, Cornelius BAYLESS arrived in Dubuque. Although he and his cousin were nearly strangers, Cornelius was given a job as a teacher. By 1863 the two cousins were partners in the college. On August 2, 1863, Cornelius became sole owner of the college upon the death of Aaron.
Determined that the college would succeed, Cornelius entered upon an aggressive campaign using handbills and advertisements placed in the Daily Times and Herald. By 1873 enrollment had increased, and additional room was needed. Better accommodations were found in the Ogilby Building. In 1874 the college was moved again to a building on Seventh and Main STREETS. On October 19, 1875 new rooms of the school were opened on its seventeenth anniversary. (3)
Penmanship strokes used in making letters became, in the hands of the most adept, a form of art.
On May 24, 1890 a large number of graduates of the institution took the first steps to organize an alumni association. I. E. Brown was elected chairman. (8) The school also took the opportunity during the summer vacation period to offer "practical studies" including penmanship, shorthand, bookkeeping, and arithmetic taught by "expert teachers." (9)
Growing enrollment led to the school being moved during April 1892, to the Lincoln Building at Eighth and Locust Streets. (10) In 1908 many of Dubuque's most prominent citizens toasted the college's fiftieth anniversary.
At the annual convention of the American Federation of Commercial Teachers held in 1909, Miss M. E. Wilson, principal of shorthand at Bayless, was named vice-president of the shorthand department of the federation. Miss Wilson was the only woman in the United States occupying such a position. (11)
Bayless served as president of the college until 1909 when it was sold to Edwin B. LYONS. In 1916 the winter announcement of subjects showed that the school was keeping current with subjects such as stenotype, mimeograph, letter press and farm accounting. Married as well as single women were encouraged to take courses. (12)
Individual attention to each student was possible until the end of WORLD WAR II when enrollment soared. Graduates were in high demand with the school unable to fill all the requests from local employers for clerical help. (13) In 1951 school officials announced a new schedule allowing students to take classes in the morning and hold jobs in the afternoon or attend private coaching classes. (14) School enrollment in 1952 saw a 10% increase over the preceding year. (15)
Following the retirement of Lyons, Florence Ludwick and Everette B. Lutenberg, senior teachers at the college, became business partners and co-directors of the school. On October 1, 1958 the college held its 100th anniversary and celebrated the graduation over the years of over 20,000 students. Despite its success, competition from other schools caused Bayless Business College to finally close in 1967. (16)
1. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-14-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml
2. "Baylies' Commercial College," Dubuque Herald, October 20, 1873, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18751020&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
3. "The Seventeenth Anniversary," Dubuque Herald, October 19, 1875, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18751019&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
4. "New Sign," Dubuque Herald, October 30, 1875, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18751030&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
5. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, February 2, 1879, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18790202&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
6. "The Next Lecture," Dubuque Herald, February 15, 1876, p 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18760215&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
7. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, November 25, 1882, p. 4
8. "Alumni Organize," Dubuque Daily Herald, May 25, 1890, p. 4
9. "Summer School of Business," Dubuque Daily Herald, June 21, 1890, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18900621&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
10. "Will Have a New Home," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 1, 1892, p. 12. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18920101&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
11. "Dubuque Woman is Honored, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, January 3, 1909, p. 4
12. Kruse, Len. "Bayless Business College," Julien's Journal, September 1995, p. 80
14. "Bayless Frees Students for Part-time Work," Telegraph Herald, October 31, 1951, p. 6
15. "Bayless College Begins 95th Year This Week," Telegraph Herald, August 31, 1952, p. 25