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Learn that Business: Draughon's Practical Business Colleges

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

A 1908 ad inside the Draughons Business College catalog demonstrates that people who do not attend will have pick axes lodged in their ears and have bad grammar; those who attend will look like J.P. Morgan (Rosenberg Library).

A 1907 map of Draughon's Business College locations in the southwest (San Antonio Gazette)

As I was looking up saloons and brothels (no, really) in my research today, I came across an advertisement for Draughon's Practical Business Colleges in an edition of the San Antonio Gazette from 1907.

Draughon's Business Colleges were private institutions that offered a "no-frills education without sports teams, commencement, and other distractions." Originally, classes offered were basic: shorthand, typing, and bookkeeping. By the 1920s, the college expanded its courses to include business law, administration, and spelling (I guess they saw the need back then, too!)

I knew that Draughon's Colleges were ubiquitous throughout the south and southwest, so I thought I'd search for some of the ones present in the vicinity of the Red River Valley. The 1907 map shows that there were colleges in Shreveport, Denison, Dallas, and Fort Worth, and I've added photos of their Sanborn locations here. By 1920, Draughon's College opened in Wichita Falls, but I could not find a Sanborn map for Wichita Falls beyond 1919.

In 1951, a North Texas State College (now, University of North Texas) graduate student did a study on men and women who graduated from the college in Wichita Falls from 1946 to 1950 and found that almost all of the graduates were employed right after their studies; they "reported that the subjects they took at Draughon's have proved valuable." Draughon's was a pretty good deal.

Draughon's Business Colleges received state accreditation by the 1940s so that they could train men under the "G.I. Bill." They stayed operating in most larger cities until the 1990s, when bankruptcy ended their dominance.

I wonder if they had a course in how to pronounce "Draughon." (Ha ha; it's "drawn).

Draughon's Business College was located above the Majestic Theater in downtown Shreveport. This was known as the Meadows Building at 603 Milam (Robinson Film Center).

Sanborn Map
Known as the Dallas Business College at Main and Akard Streets in downtown Dallas, this location (1907 Sanborn) is now a skyscraper.
Sanborn map
By the 1930s, Draughon's Business College in Denison, Texas was located at 406 W Main Street. Before, it was at the northeast corner of Rusk and Main streets.

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