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Burdett College

Boston, Massachusetts



Most of what we know of Burdett College comes from advertisements and items from newspapers—notably the Boston Herald.  The 1929 Burbad is on e-yearbooks.  The logo is from


Burdett College of Business and Shorthand was founded in 1879 by 21-year-old Charles A. Burdett.  The school’s motto was “Actual business from the start,” using a system patented by Burdett.  To assist students to participate in “actual” business activities, the school issued Boston Chamber of Commerce market prices in a daily bulletin.  Perhaps unique for the time, Burdett had a Situations Department to place their graduates in business positions.


Soon school ads boasted an enrollment of 1,500.  Opening Fall Enrollment in Higher Education gives the 1968 enrollment as 955.


The curriculum changed as business world changed.  By 1961 the catalog shows a school of Business Administration and a School of Secretarial Science.  In the B.A. program courses in taxation, business law, real estate, and management were joining tradition courses in accounting and, marketing.  Secretarial students could now specialize in executive, legal, medical or technical fields.  


The 1929 Burbad shows that students had a chapter of the Sigma Chi Omega Honor Society and also a chapter of the Delta Mu Omega Fraternity.  In addition to the yearbook, students edited the Burdett Lion, the college magazine.  The Herald reported on the performances of a Dramatic Club and the Inter-Dormitory Choral Group.


In 1970 Burdett College was sold to the Bradford School Corporation, which continued to operate the school in the Boston area.  The New England Association of Colleges and Universities gives a closing date of 1999. 

Part of a typing class at Burdett College.  Image from "A Brief Guide to Schools,";view=1up;seq=148 accessed 12-5-2017

Bricks and Mortar

The first listed address for Burdett College in advertisements was 694 Washington Street.  Around 1910 as enrollment increased, the school moved to the Young Men's Christian  Union Building at 18 Boylston Street at the corner of Washington. 


In 1928 Burdett College built a new building a few blocks away at 156 Stuart Street.  This five-story brick structure became known as the Burdett Building.  The entrance door is perhaps most famous photo of the school. This building is now home to the  New England School of Law.


In 1954 Burdett moved again to the former John Parkinson residence/ Boston College nursing school building at 160 Beacon Street, occupying that building until 1972.  Since 1975 that building contains eight upscale condominiums. 


In 1896 Burdett advertised that all advanced students had roll-top desks.  The 1946 Directory of Private Business Schools showed that Burdett College had 266 typewriters , placing them in the top five among peer schools.  The 1928 building had an internal radio system.


       Colors: Blue and White

       Team name:  The Lion, originally the name of the school newspaper, later appeared on all                         school advertisements.   It isn’t clear that it was ever used with athletics.


On October 17, 1895 the Boston Herald shows Burdett losing a football game to Somerville High School 36-0.  Through 1905 Burdett played a full schedule of games each season against Boston Area high schools, independent teams and college reserve and freshman teams.  Even with small squads—25-30 candidates--the 1900 team won at least five games; other years were less successful.  The low point was a 54-0 loss to Phillips Andover in 1905, a game in which Burdett trailed 50-0 at halftime.


Burdett apparently began baseball earlier.  The Herald shows game against Everett High School in 1894.  Burdett played many of the same teams over the same time period with more success.   Two Burdett players went on to minor league careers.


Burdett also fielded an ice polo team, playing the same schools.


Financial support for these teams came from an annual minstrel show performed by students.


Beginning in the 1950’s, Burdett had a basketball team that played with some success in the Greater Boston Small Schools Conference.

Boston Herald image of Harold W. Duddy, captain of the 1902 baseball team

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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