Mary Mirota earned a secretarial degree from the Drake College of Business, Plainfield, New Jersey after taking classes in the 1930s. Mary ran this newspaper ad in her local newspaper, The Courier News, during the month of June 1936, looking for employment. Drake Business College was founded in 1883 in New Jersey, and had at different times locations in Jersey City, Elizabeth, Newark, New Brunswick and Plainfield.
Drake Business College had been located in Plainfield, Middlesex County, NJ since 1911. In 1919 it merged with the Plainfield Business College. By the fall term in 1935 it was located at the Morris Building, at 32-40 Somerset Street, Plainfield, NJ, where it occupied the top floor. If attending full-time, you could earn a diploma in seven months. From another newspaper article, I was able to find out about the courses offered to day and evening students, which included a new executive secretarial course. The pupil capacity was 225, slightly larger than the facility in the old Union Building in Plainfield.
The principal [Henry B. Sumner] said the enrollment for the fall term “looks like old times,” adding he has found an awakening on the part of the public to the values of business and secretarial training of young people. The college now takes students of high school and college years only, having discontinued the enrollment of very young people. ” [Source: http://www.newspapers.com, The Courier-News, “Drake College Now Located in New Home” Bridgewater, New Jersey, Thursday, August 8, 1935, Page 8, accessed 26 September 2017].
In August 1935 Drake Business College was teaching a new method of Gregg shorthand and accountancy instruction, along with secretarial studies and business management. It is possible that Mary took classes while working for the Lydecker family in nearby Middlesex, or she took the train from Whitehouse Station to Plainfield from her home. Here is a certificate Mary Mirota earning for proficiency in typewriting on a manual Remington machine. Her name, Drake Business College, and her typing speed of 36 words per minute, have all faded with age. Now I know that this certificate was from 1936. After completing the course she worked for Mrs. Francis de Lacy Hyde, of North Plainfield, NJ.
Looking at a much older edition of The Courier-News, I came across this ad from the early days of Drake Business School, from 1911. I’m not sure how successful calling prospective students “backward” panned out. Maybe that was discontinued along with “very young students’. You can click on any of the images to enlarge them.
Here is another photograph of Mary Mirota, from when she worked as a personal secretary to Mrs. Hyde. Mary is the one holding the paperwork on the right.
Drake Business College shut down in 2015 after 130 years of business. It’s motto had been, “Developing Successful Careers, One Student at a Time.” Here is a link about the closure of the institution: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/05/22/drake-college-business-close-doors-end-july
Good luck searching for your family in newspapers!
Copyright 2017 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.