Evolution of Business Education in N.B.
Ruby M. Cusack
Dad came into the house carrying a box of books that Ada Mac had sent to me. I delved into that box much like a cow would jump the fence to get into the turnip patch.
Cliff and I carefully examined each one. Some were fairly new, while others had seen better days. An ‘Emily of New Moon’ caught my eye. When I opened it, out fell a small notepad filled with tiny neat marks.
Mum saw the look of puzzlement on my face and explained that Ada had taken a Business Course in her younger days and one of the subjects was shorthand, which meant she could take notes as fast as her boss could talk.
Mum probably didn’t know that one of the most colourful early shorthand instructors was Patrick (Paddy) Bennett of Ireland who was the teacher of the first school in the Courtenay Bay Alms House in Saint John. In 1831 he advertised that he could teach the winged science of shorthand in four easy lessons for only four dollars.
Since the typewriter didn’t hit the market until the 1870s, legible penmanship was an essential requirement of any office worker not only for bookkeeping activities but for communication. Consequently classes in penmanship were offered.
In 1814, Silvester C. Hewes advertised the opening of his school in Gagetown where special attention would be given to “penmanship”. There were also travelling penmanship teachers. Mr. McDonald advertised in 1828 that in eight hours he could guarantee an easy elegant hand for the ladies and a bold hand fit for business for gentleman.
In the 1840s the Rev. John MacGregor taught classes in his Union Street, Saint John home on Commercial Preparation for the warehouse or counting room.
In the 1880s, Samual Kerr due to the need of telegraph operators, offered telegraphy in his Saint John Business School. In 1908 there were at least 300 students attending this institution that offered several business courses.
Business, trade and commerce drive this world. From biblical times to the modern era, it is the exchange of goods and services that results in all of us getting paid, and allows us to purchase the things we need and want. It is, therefore necessary to have trained people to take care of business in an efficient and effective manner.
In New Brunswick, the business of business education began at least as early as 1784, predating our formal grammar schools and academic universities. The means and methods evolved from classes in backrooms of stores, through comprehensive and vocational school settings, to current offerings in private business colleges and public community colleges.
The story is chronicled in the recently released book, The Evolution of Business Education in New Brunswick, 1784-1984 by Margaret J. Macdougall, a retired professor of business education. Professor Macdougall knows the story first-hand, having completed her business education in Chatham, worked with the W. S. Loggie Company there, taught at Port Elgin Regional High School and the New Brunswick Institute of Technology in Moncton, and finally, in the 1970s, led business education into the new Faculty of Education at UNB in Fredericton.
This is a story that has been extensively researched by Ms. Macdougall, is fascinating to read, and makes an excellent addition to the reference shelf.
In the book, the reader will find information on now forgotten schools, such as, the Davenport School established by the Church of England, the Baptist Seminary in St. Martins, the Caraquet Boys’ College, the College of St. Louis in Kent County, the Collegiate Grammar School, the Woodstock College and many others.
And the gem for genealogists? The names of hundreds of teachers and
administrators, whether in public, community, church or private schools.
Teachers were a very mobile lot, and they studied extensively outside of
the province and taught at many schools. This book is where you will find
the facts about the careers of many of them.
The Evolution of Business Education in New Brunswick,
1784-1984 by Margaret J. Macdougall is distributed by Miramichi Books.
Mail: P.O. Box 27041, Saint John, NB, Canada, E2M 5S8.
Meighar - Maher - Sullivan: John Meighar married Mary Sullivan on October 8, 1839 with witnesses being Jeremiah Gallery and Joanna Sullivan. This family was Roman Catholic and resided in Upham where John worked as a labourer. He immigrated from Ireland in 1837. John Meighar went missing on his way home from work in the woods near Big Salmon River circa 1883. Mary (Sullivan) Maher is buried in St. Luke's Cemetery in Upham but her husband's body was never found. Is there anyone out there with Maher connections to this family?
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Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at email@example.com. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.