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Image contributed by Chuck Griffen of the Warren County Genealogical Society
Transcription contributed by Arne H Trelvik on 2 October 2004
The Western Star 11 May 1893
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National Normal University

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The Normal Fails

The Oldest and One of the Largest Normal Schools in the County


Born Down By the Weight of Old Debts
- It had 3,007 Pupils Last Year, and
Is In a Prosperous Condition.
But It Was Handicapped.

The failure of the National Normal University Co., mentioned in last week's WESTERN STAR was received with universal expressions of regret but no one was surprised, for it had been considered weak for a long time. The accumulated debt of twenty years hung over the institution and it has long been known that the first signs of stringency in the money market would bring on a crisis if it did not come naturally without it. The public have been taught to think that the Holbrook family were extravagant and that they spent more money than their income justified, but the business men who examined the books say that there has been no gross extravagance and that no business house in town has a more accurate or a neater set of books than was kept by Professor Heber Holbrook and his assistants.

The Assignee, Mr. Geo. A. Burr, of the law firm of Brown, Brandon & Burr, immediately took possession of the school and began an examination and appraisement of its property, assisted by Lee S. Dunham, M. J. Hutchinson and John A. Bone. Mr. Burr announced as soon as he was in a position to know what the status of affairs was, that there was no reason for closing it up as the patronage was good and the work being done by the literary and scientific departments was perfectly satisfactory to the patrons and the income was sufficient to maintain it and make a profit if the debt could be met.


A meeting of citizens was called at the mayor's office on Saturday evening at which prominent citizens discussed the question of buying up the claims and assuming the control of the school. All were of the opinion that an arrangement could be made with the bond holders by which the property could be bought for less than it is actually worth as an investment and advised that steps be taken to ascertain the exact standing of the institution. Messrs. Ge. B. VanHorn, Geo. W. Stanley and Dr. J. L. Stephens were appointed and instructed to report at a meeting to be held on Monday night at the same place.

A second meeting was held on Monday and the chairman, Geo. W. Stanley reported that they had seen most of the bond holders and that they were willing to aid the citizens in retaining the school. They preferred to assist in the capacity of private citizens rather than as a body.

The committee was continued and instructed to take steps to organize a new company to purchase the school and run it for the benefit of the citizens. This they at once set about doing and they have determined to incorporate a company with J. M. Hayner, Dr. J. L. Stephens, Geo. W. Stanley, Geo. B. VanHorn and Dr. Mardis as incorporators. As soon as the charter is granted subscriptions will be taken for capital stock and if their efforts meet with a hearty response the institution will pass into the possession of the new company with a capital stock of $35,000, of which $10,000 will be cash and the balance be represented by bonds to be held by the present bond holders who agree to accept them in payment of their claims. This will enable them to secure all the real estate, chattles and good will of the school.

A competent business man will be placed in charge and the old corps of teachers retained. The Holbrooks have agreed to accept salaries and they will not have any pecuniary interest in it. All the gentlemen who have had opportunity to look through the books are of the opinion that the revenues are ample to pay expenses and a very handsome percentage on the money invested.


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This page created 2 October 2004 and last updated 2 October, 2004
© 2004 Arne H Trelvik  All rights reserved