Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library

Shamburger's Select Business School

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Shamburger, Julia Ida (Mrs. R.L.)
Title: Shamburger's Select Business School
Dates: 1910-1948 (Bulk)
Dates: 1882-1980's (Inclusive)
Accession No.: MA 84-12
Quantity: 3.25 linear feet
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Texas/Dallas History & Archives, Dallas Public Library 1515 Young St  Dallas, TX 75201

Biographical Note

The Shamburgers founded and ran a successful business school in Dallas from 1915 to 1948, known as Shambuger Business College. Julia Ida Jackson Shamburger was born on June 3, 1878 in San Saba, Texas. Robert Lee Shamburger was born on July 4, 1871 in Pine Mills, Texas and was educated at the Summer Hill Select School in Omen, Texas. Julia Ida married Robert Lee on February 8, 1903.

The couple started their school in 1910 in the small Texas town of Pittsburg. Mrs. Shamburger had previously taught in Avinger, TX and Marshall, TX. Mrs. Shamburger authored the textbook "Shamburger Select Shorthand" in 1910, which was printed in its fifth edition in 1938.

The Shamburgers moved to Dallas in September 1915 and purchased a house at 4922 Columbia Ave., where they ran Shamburger Business College together. The family lived upstairs and the school was downstairs. That house burned down in 1917, so the Shamburgers bought a house down the street at 5111 Columbia Ave. They used that location for the school and living quarters until 1928, when they had a large building constructed specifically for the Dallas school at 5101 Columbia. That building still exists today as an apartment house and has been renamed the Columbia Inn. The school was run from this building until 1948, when the Shamburgers became too ill to continue. During the 1920's, they opened a separate school in Forth Worth, called Shamburger's Private School.

Between 1938 and 1939, Mrs. Shamburger corresponded with a former student, Charra Barlow, who had moved to Berkeley, CA to start her own school using the Shamburger method. The Charra Barlow School opened in 1936 and closed in 1940, when Miss Barlow was involved in an auto accident and was sued. The health problems and expense of the lawsuit resulting from the accident made it impossible for her to continue.

The Shamburgers had two children, Esther Lee and Rufus Van Shamburger. Esther Lee taught her parents' method of shorthand in Winnsboro in the 1920's and Rufus taught students in Bryan around the same time. They later both taught at the Dallas schools. After Julia and Robert Shamburger became too ill to teach, Esther Lee moved into their home to care for them and finish teaching some of their students. The last student finished in 1950, although the school was officially closed in 1948.

Mrs. Shamburger passed away on March 26, 1952 and Mr. Shamburger on April 21, 1953. Rufus died at a very young age in 1955. He was fifty years old.

The Shamburgers were once on the cutting edge of business education, reaching students throughout Texas and as far away as California. They taught shorthand, touch typing, English, spelling, court reporting, business correspondence, legal forms, punctuation, secretarial duties, office training, tabulating, care of business machines, bookkeeping, commercial law, business writing, finger drills, comptometer, and Dictaphone. Their students worked in many fields, as secretaries, office managers, stenographers, bookkeepers, court reporters, and legal aides. The Shamburgers were able to guarantee their students a position upon graduation, due to their connections to a vast network of business professionals and their excellent reputation in the field. Testimonials for their teaching methods and the quality of their students filled a three-ring scrapbook and were written by such well-known Texans as United States District Judge T. Whitfield Davidson, Baylor professor J. F. Kimball, and Pastor George W Truett.

Scope and Contents

The Shamburger collection has been arranged within 11 series: class books, ledgers, textbooks, photographs, advertisements, testimonials, postcards, letters, newspaper clippings, items relating to the A. W. Orr Memorial Association, and personal documents. Throughout the collection, Esther Lee Shamburger left small notes explaining certain items. Esther Lee was the daughter of Julia and Robert Shamburger and the donor of the collection.

Series 1 consists of class books, where the Shamburgers recorded the names, addresses, tuition history, and educational progress of their students. The first class book is undated and has the legend "'Property' of R.V. Shamburger Vocational School, Madison, Wisc. 108 Langdon St." This most likely belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Shamburger's son, Rufus. There is nothing else in the collection that suggests that Rufus had his own school in Wisconsin, but Rufus did teach in the Dallas school at 5101 Columbia in the 1930's. Most of the other class books are clearly labeled with dates from 1917 to 1950, which covers all of the years that the Shamburgers taught in Dallas. There are two other class books for schools outside of Dallas, one for Fort Worth and the other for the Winnsboro and Bryan students, taught by Esther Lee and Rufus, respectively.

Series 2 contains two ledgers. The first is a ledger of expenses for the Shambuger School between 1938 and 1941. Expenses include such categories as materials and supplies, advertising, automobile, salaries, insurance, offerings (donations to charity), interest, taxes, stamps, janitor, furniture, and general expenses (such as utilities). The other ledger is in very fragile condition and appears to be a household accounting of donations to charity and income, mostly from tuition payments. The front and back endpapers are scribbled with medicines and dosages for various ailments.

Series 3 is a collection of books. These are mostly textbooks, but there are a few exceptions. Julia Ida Shamburger studied every method of teaching shorthand that she could find and created her own method, using the best ideas of the others and simplifying the process. The textbook collection covers the most popular business teaching methods of the time, such as Barnes, Byrne, Garvin, Gregg, Pitman, and Thomas. All five editions of Mrs. Shamburger's book, Select Shorthand for General and Verbatim Reporting are included. A relative of Mrs. Shamburger, George Jackson, authored the book, Sixty Years in Texas. Written in 1908, this book chronicles the family's journey to Texas and early life in Dallas. The copy included in this collection is missing the front and back covers and is in fragile condition.

Series 4 is a large photograph collection. Highlights include pictures of the three locations of the school, family photos, photos of a trip to the Dallas Zoo, and student group photos. Several teachers are named in the photographs, including Ruth Ragsdale, Cora Sue Cole, Charra Barlow, Bess Hooper, and Mattie Sutherland. A number of students are also named. Whenever specific teachers or students were named on the back of the photographs, those names are included in the finding guide. These photographs could be useful to genealogists looking for images of their relatives. Folder 3, box 3 contains a photograph, letter, and a newspaper clipping of Miss Carl Turner. Although the letter is a testimonial for the school and the newspaper clipping is an advertisement, these items were chosen to be placed with the photographs because they were an original part of the photograph collection and did not come out of the scrapbook of testimonials.

Series 5 contains advertisements that were either printed in the newspapers or handed out to potential students. Esther Lee Shamburger is depicted on one of the ads as a "twelve-year-old child" who could write by touch at "100 words per minute." A unique piece of this collection is a "$10 bill" which was given out at the Texas State Fair to be used as credit on a course at the Shamburgers' school. The Shamburgers used a variety of marketing techniques to bring students to their school, including a contest offering $100 in gold or scholarships to anyone who could solicit the largest number of pupils.

Series 6 consists of testimonials for the school written by over 30 different professionals who had either hired Shamburger graduates or who were graduates themselves. These testimonials were originally contained in a faux leather three-ring binder, each enclosed in a plastic document cover. The plastic had darkened and warped with time, making many of the testimonials unreadable. The binder and covers were discarded and the testimonials were organized alphabetically as much as possible. Some of them were glued to the opposite sides of pages, so it was impossible to sort them in exact alphabetical order. There is a cross reference list in the finding guide which shows which folders contain testimonials by a specific person.

Series 7 is Esther Lee Shamburger's postcard collection. The first five folders contain postcards sent to Esther Lee from her friends and are arranged by decade from the 1920's to the 1980's. One folder contains a postcard sent from Esther Lee to her father when she was a child. The last four folders contain postcards that were bought by Esther Lee as souvenirs of her travels in California, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. These are arranged by state.

Series 8 contains correspondence. These are mostly letters between Mrs. Julia Shamburger and Miss Charra Barlow, the former student who moved to California to start her own school. Miss Barlow relied heavily on assistance from the Shamburgers, requesting teaching materials and ideas on how to attract students and teachers to her school. The collection of letters is still in the original three-ring binder that Mrs. Shamburger used to organize it. The only letter not from Miss Barlow is from Virginia Moyse, announcing her intention to send a student to study stenography with the Shamburgers at the end of her last term at junior college.

Series 9 contains an interesting collection of clippings. Some are articles about towns the Shamburgers lived in, people that they knew, and the preparatory school Mr. Shamburger attended. Julia Ida Shamburger's death notice is in this series. There is a letter in the first folder of this series, which was included because it was one of 5 items described by Esther Lee Shamburger in an accompanying note. A decision was made not to break up this small collection by relocating the letter to the correspondence folder. Another interesting piece of this series is a written genealogy of the Shamburger family, written by Spinks Lafayette Shamburger, Robert Lee's father.

Series 10 deals with the A. W. Orr Memorial Association, created by ex-students and friends of the Summer Hill Select School in Omen, TX. There are invitations to school reunions, a group photograph of students and teachers in front of the main building, student rosters, and a letter from Mrs. Ola B. Roberts. The letter is included in this series because it directly relates to the school reunions.

Series 11 contains a variety of personal documents related to the Shamburgers. Julia and Robert's State Fair of Texas exhibitor's tickets are here, as well as Robert's certificate of Permanent Voting Exemption, war ration coupons for every member of the family, a playbill, and a copy of the "Texas Baptist Herald." Researchers will also find the deeds and paperwork regarding the purchase of land in Dallas and the construction of the final location for the school at 5101 Columbia St.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Robert Lee Shamburger
Julia Ida Jackson Shamburger
George Jackson
Esther Lee Shamburger Davis
Rufus Van Shamburger
Albertus Wellington Orr
Shamburger's Select Business College
A. W. Orr Memorial Association
Shamburger's Private School
Summer Hill Select School
Family Names:
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Marshall, Texas
Winnsboro, Texas
Pine Mills, Texas
Omen, Texas
Pittsburg, Texas
Avinger, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Berkeley, California
Business Machines
Court Reporter
Legal Aide
Office work

Detailed Description of the Collection


Class Books 1917-1926

Box Folder
1 1 Class Book undated
2 Class Book 1917-1918
3 Class Book 1918-1919
4 Class Book Mar 13, 1919-Aug 27, 1920
5 Class Book Sep 1, 1920-May 12, 1922
6 Class Book May 12, 1922-Sep 10, 1923
7 Class Book Sep 10, 1923-May 1925
8 Class Book May 1925-Oct 1926
9 Class Book Nov 1926-Apr 14, 1928
10 Class Book Apr 14, 1928-Aug 19, 1929
11 Class Book Aug 19, 1929-Dec 8, 1930
12 Class Book Dec 8, 1930-Jan 1, 1933
13 Class Book Jan 1, 1933-Apr 9, 1935
14 Class Book Apr 9, 1935-Sep 27, 1937
15 Class Book Sep 27, 1937-Jun 1, 1940
16 Class Book Jun 1, 1940-Jan 1, 1943
17 Class Book 1943- (1946?)
Box Folder
2 1 Class Book Jun 3, 1946
2 Class Book 1947-1950
3 Fort Worth Class Book undated
4 Fort Worth Class Book Jun 1921
5 Winnsboro and Bryan Class Book Nov 1,1926


Ledgers 1915-1945

Box Folder
2 6 Expense Ledger 1928-1941
7 Gift/Income Ledger 1915-1945


Books 1882-1942

Box Folder
2 8 "The Book of Culture," by Harriet Lane, Social Mentor Publications 1922
9 "Barnes Brief Course in Benn Pitman Shorthand," by Mrs. Arthur J. Barnes, Arthur J. Barnes Publishing Company 1926
10 "Byrne Practical Speller, 3rd ed.," by Glenn and Byrne, Burne Publishing Company 1905
11 "Byrne Simplified Shorthand, 8th ed.," by Henry Edward Byrne, Byrne Publishing Company 1918
12 "Byrne Simplified Shorthand, 13th ed.," by Henry Edward Byrne, Byrne Publishing Company 1935
13 "Detours," by J. N. Kimball, Underwood Typewriter Company 1927
14 "Garvin Superior Shorthand," by Eugene Gasque Garvin, The Garvin Institute 1923
15 "Gregg Shorthand," by John Robert Gregg, The Gregg Publishing Company 1916
16 "Gregg Speed Practice," by John Robert Gregg, The Gregg Publishing Company 1907
17 "How to Prepare for Success in Business: A Treatise on Modern Methods" undated
18 "Pitman's Shorthand Dictionary, 10th ed.," by Sir Isaac Pitman, Isaac Pitman and Sons undated
19 "The Reporter's Companion," by Benn Pitman, Phonographic Institute 1882
21 "Select Shorthand for General and Verbatim Reporting, 1st ed.," by Mrs. R. L. Shamburger 1910
21 "Select Shorthand for General and Verbatim Reporting, 2nd ed.," by Mrs. R. L. Shamburger 1918
22 "Select Shorthand for General and Verbatim Reporting, 3rd ed.," by Mrs. R. L. Shamburger 1924
23 "Select Shorthand for General and Verbatim Reporting, 4th ed," by Mrs. Julia Ida Shamburger 1930
24 "Select Shorthand for General and Verbatim Reporting, 5th ed.," by Mrs. Julia Ida Shamburger 1938
Box Folder
25 "Sixty Years in Texas," by George Jackson, Wilkinson Printing Company 1908
26 "Teacher's Manual for Secretarial Studies," by Rupert P. Sorelle and John Robert Gregg, The Gregg Publishing Company 1928
27 "Thomas Natural Shorthand, 2nd ed.," by Charles A. Thomas, Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1942


Photographs 1910-1942

Box Folder
3 1 Scrapbook page showing the three locations of Shamburger's Select Business College in Dallas 1915-1928
2 2 Photographs of school at 4922 Columbia undated
3 Photograph, letter, and clipping, Miss Carl Turner undated
4 Student group photograph, 4922 Columbia, 2 copies undated
5 17 Student group photographs, 5111 Columbia undated
6 Ruth Ragsdale and students, 5101 Columbia, 2 copies undated
7 Esther Lee Shamburger with Mabel Ford and other students, 5101 Columbia undated
8 Teachers- Esther Lee Shamburger, Julia Ida Shamburger, Robert Lee Shamburger, Cora Sue Cole, Charra Barlow, Bess Hooper undated
9 Mattie Sutherland (teacher from 1920-1933), 5111 Columbia undated
10 Rufus Van Shamburger undated
11 Julia Ida Shamburger with students Sarah Shell, Mallie Wright, Ethel Davis, Sarah Thompson, Della Cowan, Ruth Ragsdale, and Gordon Mattison, Pittsburg, TX., 2 copies (picture postals sent to Mrs. E.J. Jackson and Mrs. W. E. Calloway) 1910
12 Julia Ida Shamburger with students, including Henry C. Shamburger, Pittsburg, TX 1910 or 1911
13 Julia Ida Shamburger with Mrs. Henderson 4/17/1912
14 Julia Ida Shamburger with students, Marshall, TX 1915
15 Student group photograph, 4922 Columbia 1916
16 4 Photographs from trip to Dallas Zoo, including Mr. and Mrs. Shamburger, Rufus Van, Esther Lee, Mrs. Jackson, Ermine Shamburger (cousin), and various students 1916
17 Julia Ida and Robert Lee Shamburger with students, 4922 Columbia 1916 or 1917
18 Julia Ida and Robert Lee Shamburger with students, 4922 Columbia 1917
19 Students with sign for new location of school, 5111 Columbia 1917
20 Julia Ida Shamburger, Robert Lee Shamburger, and Miss Southerland with students, 5111 Columbia 1917
21 Julia Ida Shamburger, Robert Lee Shamburger, and Miss Southerland with students, 5111 Columbia 1918
22 Esther Lee Shamburger with students, 5111 Columbia 1919
23 Julia Ida Shamburger and Robert Lee Shamburger with students, 5111 Columbia, 4 copies 1920
24 Julia Ida Shamburger, 5111 Columbia 1920's
25 Student group photograph, 5111 Columbia, 2 copies 1920's
26 Robert Lee Shamburger with students, 5111 Columbia, 2 photographs 1920's
27 Shamburger's Select typing students, 5111 Columbia 1920's
28 Julia Ida Shamburger and Robert Lee Shamburger with students in front of John DeGrazier's home on Columbia Ave. 1922 or 1923
29 Student group photograph, 5111 Columbia 1923
30 Julia Ida Shamburger and Robert Lee Shamburger 1925 or 1926
31 Esther Lee Shamburger with students, 5111 Columbia 1926 or 1927
32 Esther Lee Shamburger with students, 5111 Columbia, 2 photographs (2 copies of one photo) 1927
33 Rufus Van Shamburger with students, 5101 Columbia 1928 or 1929
34 Rufus Van Shamburger with students, including Jack Saunders, James Jackson, and Emory Jackson, 5101 Columbia 1920's
35 Rufus Van Shamburger, 5101 Columbia 1930
36 Rufus Van Shamburger with students, 5101 Columbia 1930's
37 Julia Ida Shamburger with students, 5101 Columbia 1930's
38 Group photograph of meeting of Dallas Court Reporters, including Julia Ida Shamburger, Dallas, TX circa 1935-1940
39 Kenneth Gilliam (student) and unidentified man 1940's
40 David Lambert (student) February 1942


Advertisements 1941

Box Folder
3 41 Advertisement to solicit for Shamburger's Select at 4922 Columbia, with image of Esther Lee Shamburger undated
42 "25 Reasons" advertisement for 5101 Columbia undated
43 Clippings of advertisements from Dallas Morning News, 5 clippings undated
44 Copy for an ad in the Dallas Morning News, signed by J. E. Shelby undated
45 Clipping of poem "A Tribute to Mrs. Shamburger," by Florence Young Griswold 2/1/1941


Testimonials 1923-1940

Box Folder
3 46 Blumberg, Louise -Includes photograph 12/5/1931
47 Bolding, James M. 1/21/1939
48 Bond, H. C. 7/26/1926
49 Brindley, Portia 12/7/1931
50 Brown, E. R.- Includes clipping 7/8/1926 and 11/5/1931
51 Bussey, Emmett D.- Includes business card 5/10/1934
52 Carpenter, Lewis T. 5/10/1931 and 5/10/1933
53 Coleman, Robert H. 1/30/1931 and 1/28/1932
54 Collins, Carr P. 1/21/1932
55 Cranfill, J. B. 1/26/1932 and 3/24/1932
56 Davidson, T. W. 4/30/1923, 11/5/1931, and 6/15/1940
57 Dolbin, R. C.- Includes clipping 11/7/1931
58 Gardner, T. C.- Includes clipping 12/21/1931
59 Hall, Colby D. 5/24/1935
60 Irish, Gilbert H. 11/4/1931 and 7/24/1926
61 Judd, Bess B.- Includes clipping 11/17/1938
62 Kimball, J. F.- Includes clipping 1/31/1934
63 Marrs, S. M. N. 1/30/1931
64 Mathews, Irma Dee - Includes shorthand sample 4/5/1932
65 Nabors, W. A.- Includes 2 clippings 5/5/1923 and 2/2/1931
66 Norris, Esther 12/14/1931
67 Pierson, W. M. 11/6/1931 and 2/28/1935
68 Ryburn, Frank M.- Includes clipping 1/26/1932
69 Shoemaker, J. G. 5/13/1932
70 Smythe, Earl B.- Includes clipping 1/21/1932 and 5/21/1935
71 South-Western Publishing Co. 12/6/1932
72 Sweeney, J. Shirley- Includes clipping of Dr. John O. McReynolds 11/23/1931
73 Taliaferro, M. E. 2/28/1936
74 Terry, T. V. 5/18/1934
75 Truett, George W.- Includes clipping and envelope 2/6/1932
76 Vance, Nolan R. 8/20/1932
77 Warren, H. R. 7/26/1926
78 Whitley, Alma- includes photograph and letter 7/22/1929 and 12/12/1931
Box Folder

Location of testimonials by name (all located in Box 3)

  • Barron, C. T- Folder 53
  • Blumberg, Louise- 46
  • Bolding, James M.- 47
  • Bond, H. C.- 48, 60
  • Brindley, Portia - 49
  • Brown, E. R.- 50
  • Bussey, Emmett D.- 51
  • Carpenter, Lewis T.- 50, 52
  • Chambers, Maritta- 78
  • Coleman, Robert H. - 53
  • Collins, Carr P.- 54
  • Cranfill, J. B.- 55
  • Davidson, T. W.- 56, 63, 65
  • Dolbin, R. C.- 57
  • Gardner, T. C.- 58
  • Hall, Colby D.- 59
  • Halladay, Ann- 61
  • Irish, Gilbert H.- 60
  • Judd, Bess B.- 61
  • Kimball, J. F.- 62
  • Marrs, S. M. N.- 63
  • Mathews, Irma Dee- 64
  • Nabors, W. A.- 65
  • Norris, Esther - 66
  • Pierson, W. M.- 65, 67, 77
  • Pound, Euna Mae- 56, 65
  • Ryburn, Frank M.- 68
  • Shoemaker, J. G.- 69
  • Smythe, Earl B.- 70
  • South-Western Publishing Co.- 71
  • Sweeney, J. Shirley- 72
  • Taliaferro, M. E.- 73
  • Terry, T. V.- 74
  • Truett, George W.- 75
  • Vance, Nolan R.- 76
  • Warren, H. R.- 77
  • Whitley, Alma- 78


Postcards 1920's - 1980's

Box Folder
4 1 Postcards 1920's
2 Postcards 1930's
3 Postcards 1960's
4 Postcards 1970's
5 Postcards 1980's
6 Postcard from Esther Lee Shamburger to Robert Lee Shamburger undated
7 California postcards undated
8 Texas postcards undated
9 Colorado postcards 1929
10 New Mexico postcards 1964


Correspondence 1938-1939

Box Folder
4 11 Barlow, Charla 1938-1939
12 Moyse, Virginia 1/24/1937


Clippings 1952-1974

Box Folder
4 13 Clippings with note from Esther Lee Davis describing 5 items in folder
14 Newspaper article about Pine Mills, TX undated
15 Newspaper article about Summer Hill Select School undated
16 Scrapbook page with three newspaper clippings: 1. Anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Erambert, 2. Reverend M. L. Fuller, 3. Dr. E. P. West undated
17 Inside the Museum, by Carolyn Abney, from the Marshall News Messenger 10/1/1972


A. W. Orr Memorial Association 1929-1952

Box Folder
4 18 Summer Hill Select School roster of students (2 copies), photograph of teachers and students (undated), and invitation from Wylie Apton Parker, with envelope 7/20/1929
19 Invitation from Executive Committee, 2 envelopes 12/15/1930
20 Correspondence from Ola Bonner Roberts, with envelope 7/15/1946
21 Invitation from Ola Bonner Roberts, with envelope 6/1/1952


Personal Documents 1905-1943

Box Folder
4 22 Mr. and Mrs. Shamburgers' State Fair of Texas Exhibit passes 1931-1932
23 1. Mr. Shamburger's Certificate of Permanent Voting Exemption, 2. Description of items written by Esther Lee Davis, 3. Index card of Mr. and Mrs. Shamburgers' dates of birth, death, and marriage. 1931
24 Office of Price Administration War Ration Books for Robert Lee Shamburger, Julia Ida Shamburger, Esther Lee Davis, Basil L. Davis, Sandra Lee Davis, in 3 envelopes 1943
25 Deeds and Titles to land on Columbia Ave. 1905-1932
26 Playbill to "The Drunkard" undated
27 "The Texas Baptist Herald" 5/11/1905