Easton Business College
Easton attorney and local historian Richard F. Hope has a history of the Jones Building online. Through ebay I was able to purchase a copy of the Easton Business College Journal from the 1880’s. Easton city directory records are available through Ancestry.com.
Easton Business College opened in 1873. Charles Lincoln Free was principal of the school from 1884 to 1901, developing the Actual Business program. In 1901 the school was reorganized as Easton School of Business with a focus on typing and shorthand. Under the direction of Addison L. Jones, ESB operated until at least 1916, when it last was listed in the city directory. In 1911 William E. Churchman, former manager of ESB, opened a competing business school which operated until 2004.
To reach the wisest audience, Easton Business College was a co-educational school with evening classes, a year-round calendar, and correspondence courses. The EBC Journal notes that the college offered “all the subjects that go to make up a full, complete and satisfactory commercial education. These included “Theory of Accounts, Actual Business, Commercial Law, Commercial Arithmetic, Commercial Correspondence, Business penmanship, Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Phonography.”
The strength of EBC was its progress from theory to the Actual Business department. Actual Business was a nine-month program in which each student operated a business—first alone, then with a partner, then with multiple partners--settled an estate, and did both single entry and double entry bookkeeping. In the next sequence of classes students went through the entire process of buying, selling and transporting goods, and accepting commissions on the goods. In the final sequence, students operated the First National College Bank, transacting with student banks in other cities, operating deposits, collecting accounts, drafting notes and certificates of deposit, issuing stocks, and discounting foreign bills.
Bricks and Mortar
Easton Business College opened in rooms on the second floor of the Jones Building at 24 Centre Square in Easton. According to Richard F. Hope, the Jones Building, a three-story commercial office building, was built by lawyer Matthew F. Jones between 1852 and 1858. The 1916 Easton directory still lists the building as the address for The Easton School of Business.
From 1925 until 2008 the building was identified with Bixler’s Jewelers. Since 2013 commercial space in the building has been occupied by Frozenlandia, a frozen yoghurt restaurant.
Old Fulton New York Postcards show a 21-0 baseball loss to the Merritt Club of Camden, NJ in 1882. The Philadelphia Inquirer shows a 23-21 basketball loss to East Stroudsburg High School in 1914. But most reported sports activity for ECB or ESB occurred between 1899 and 1906.
As a small school, Easton Business College had to schedule accordingly. Schedules included high schools, small colleges, and independent teams. Football opponents included East Stroudsburg Normal School, Perkiomen Seminary, Seton Hall College, Newark Athletic Club and Orange Athletic Club. Opponents in baseball, the major school sport, included Centenary Collegiate Institute, Churchman Business College, Lincoln Field Club, and Easton Academy.
EBC was a relatively small school. The Annual Report for 1883 shows 79 day students (60 males) and 60 evening students (47 males). Most students were local—including those from Phillipsburg, the New Jersey suburb across the Delaware River. The reports show of 227 by 1906.
Easton College of Business made a major impact on the area. Citing the 1899 American Journal of Progress, Hope notes, “In nearly every manufacturing industry, bank, wholesale or retail house, lawyer’s or broker’s office in Easton and vicinity, there can be found from one to five graduates of the Easton College of Business.”
(left)William E. Churchman was principal of the shorthand department and later manager of Easton School of Business. Image from Men of Easton and Phillipsburg https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=pst.000000014168;view=1up;seq=20 (accessed 4-13-2019)