McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce records

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce records
McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce.
Inclusive Date(s)
Materials related to the McKenchie-Lunger School of Commerce in Rochester, NY. The school was founded as the Phono-Syllabic Shorthand School in 1917 and was acquired by the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1952. The collection mostly consists of course catalogs.
2.0 Folder(s)
C.S. South, Shelf 794, Box 81
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Historical Information for McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce (Collapse)

The McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce was established in 1917 in Rochester, NY. Robert J. McKechnie (1887-1941) owned a publishing company in Rochester at the time. Seeing the need for a stenographer's school in the area, he opened the Phono-Syllabic Shorthand School in downtown Rochester. As more courses were added, the school changed names several times until it became the McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce in 1926.

The school was open to both men and women and eventually offered programs in secretarial science, business administration, and accounting. Classes were held for three hours in the morning, followed by lunch and a two hour study period. A placement secretary would help students find positions with afternoon and Saturday hours so that students could finance their own education. There was also an evening school that met two nights a week for most of the year. The same classes were offered in the evening program as were in the day program. Although only a small proprietary business school, the School of Commerce planned activities for its students, had an athletic program, and provided services such as a placement department.

The School of Commerce was successful for a while, but admissions figures started to decline. One reason for this might have been that the enrollment increase caused by the G.I. Bill was starting to wane. In 1952, the school was acquired by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). RIT's acquisition of the School of Commerce was one of three major expansions over 20 years. In 1937, the university acquired the Empire State School of Printing and in the mid-1950s the School for American Craftsmen moved from Alfred University to RIT.

Although RIT offered a wide-range of programs at the time, it did not have a school of business. The food administration program and the retailing department were consolidated and the School of Commerce was added to form the Department of Business Administration. Wanting to maintain some continuity in instruction, the faculty and staff of the School of Commerce were invited to join the staff of RIT. Howard B. Stauffer, the former president of the School of Commerce, became the head of the department and the school's instructors began teaching at the university. Much of the equipment was also moved to RIT's campus, as well as the library's materials.

Courses in the Department of Business Administration began on April 1, 1952. The 190 students enrolled in the School of Commerce were welcome to continue their studies at RIT. Now these students were able to earn an Associate in Applied Science degree from RIT by completing additional work in the evening program. The new two year program in business administration offered majors in accounting, management, real estate and insurance, executive secretarial work, and medical-dental secretarial training. Additionally, short courses were offered in legal and insurance secretaryship and selling and advertising. By 1960, the College of Business was officially established, ensuring its sustainability in the future.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce records contain miscellaneous documents from prior to the school's merger with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Most of the collection consists of course catalogs (1927, 1949), as well as reproductions of these documents (1936-1946). There is also a tuition leaflet from 1927, a list of classes for the accountancy program, and a constitution for a student organization. Also in the collection are all of the original documents required for completion of the sale of the McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce to RIT in 1952.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The collection consists of two folders. Most of the materials are contained in the first folder, while the course catalog reproductions are contained in the second folder.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • McKechnie, Robert J., (Robert James), 1887-1941

Corporate Name(s)

  • McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. E. Philip Saunders College of Business.


  • Business schools -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Shorthand -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Curricula
  • Leaflet

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

McKechnie-Lunger School of Commerce records, RIT Archive Collections

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID


Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in December 2010.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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