Founding the New Hampshire Accounting and Secretarial School


New Hampshire School of Accounting and Finance Class Photograph 1937

Early in 1932 Harry A. B. Shapiro met fellow Elm Street-based accountant Joseph F. Moran. Moran had operated a small accounting school in Portland, Maine that went by names such as The Portland School of Accountancy and The Maine School of Accounting and Finance. He was currently operating a branch of an accounting correspondence school in addition to his accounting practice. Mr. Shapiro had an interest in forming an accounting school based on his belief that students were learning how to perform book keeping processes, but not the reasons underlying the methods. “To get bookkeepers to really understand the theory of debit and credit was my basic drive to start teaching” he said in a 1951 radio interview. The idea for the two accountants to form a school took shape in May and a formal agreement was made between them on August 11, 1932. The institution was to be called the New Hampshire Accounting and Secretarial School. Both men put up the sum of $400 in support of the venture.

1938 - 1939 New Hampshire School of Accounting and Finance brochure

The doors of the school formally opened on September 12, 1932 at 8:00am. There were 7 day students and 35 evening students initially enrolled. Classes were held in two rented rooms on the 2nd floor of the Athens Building at 88 Hanover Street in downtown Manchester in what had been a Chinese restaurant. Students could take bookkeeping, accounting, and secretarial courses leading to one or two year diplomas in those areas. A student’s program of study was customized to him or her. Classes could be started on any Monday. Mr. Shapiro was particularly noted for the one-on-one approach he took with students. According to Gertrude Shapiro: “He preferred teaching the beginning students over the more advanced students, because he felt that that was where they needed the background. The first chapters were taught by him in his office - each student had private instruction in elementary accounting.”  In an interview in the 1980s, George Teloian said: “I hear, from old alumni, they still praise Mr. Shapiro very highly. They say that he was the best accounting teacher they ever had. He was a very good teacher. He devoted a lot of time to the individual, which is difficult and tough.”

The partnership between Joseph Moran and Harry Shapiro did not last long. On January 14, 1933 Mr. Shapiro bought out Moran’s interest in the school for $1, agreeing to assume all debts incurred by the school. Gertrude Shapiro described Moran’s approach to the school as follows: “I think this man took us to the cleaners.” This left Mr. Shapiro as the sole owner of the school and the terms “Principal” or “Headmaster” were used to describe his position as chief administrator. He would serve in that capacity for nearly 20 years.

Founding the New Hampshire Accounting and Secretarial School