The Business of War The Peirce School in World War I

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Bart Everts


Founded in 1865, The Peirce School of Business Administration taught a variety of business-related courses as well as teacher training classes. The school was well integrated into the Philadelphia business community, and when the United States entered World War I, it took a stance of unquestioned patriotism. Doing so allowed the school to demonstrate the value of its curriculum to the war effort. The alumni board and school administrators organized sendoffs for soldiers, the Comfort Kit Club, Liberty Bond drives, and other prowar rituals. The school marketed “war courses” aimed at training women for civilian jobs, and the alumni journal featured female graduates contributing to the war effort. Leonard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt were featured speakers at the 1917 and 1918 commencement ceremonies, respectively, solidifying the narrative that Peirce prepared students to make a contribution to the war effort.

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