The American Colleges of Hairstyling were originally
founded as Moler Barber Colleges in 1899 and 1900, making
them two of the oldest schools in the nation. However, many people know the schools
as either the Iowa Barber College or the Cedar Rapids Barber College.
AB Moler played a major role in creating the barber college
industry. He started the first Moler Barber College in Chicago, in 1893,
wrote his own instructional textbook, and sought to franchise the idea.
Moler's plan was to charge a fee of ten dollars for every student that
graduated from a franchised Moler Barber College (a large sum at that time). The plan worked!
By 1899, Jack Farrell had opened a Moler Barber College in St. Louis and a man
named "Smith" opened another in Des Moines.
Bert Millis Sr.
Bert Millis Sr. was an aspiring businessman in Des Moines at
the turn of the century. Having seen the promise and ease of owning a
barber college, he made an offer in 1912 to the owner of the Des Moines Moler
Barber College, Dwight Quaintance, who agreed. Soon afterward, Bert Sr. also obtained ownership of the
College in St. Louis. The name of the Des Moines school, located at 314
Locust Avenue, was changed to the Iowa Barber College. Five years later it
was moved to the 200 block of Walnut Avenue.
Bert Millis Jr.
In 1940, Bert Millis Sr. suffered a debilitating stroke and
his only child, Bert Jr., stepped-in to run the schools. During Bert Jr.'s
tenure, the Iowa Barber College moved several times. In 1952 it moved
across the street, to the north side of Walnut Avenue. In 1962, it
burned-down and was temporarily relocated to North Walnut and 2nd Avenue.
In 1964, it moved back to its location prior to the fire, on the north side of
Walnut Avenue. Finally, in 1969, the Iowa Barber College moved to its
present location at 603 East Sixth Street and was renamed the Iowa School of
Barbering and Hairstyling. An additional note: in 1950, Bert
purchased the Cedar Rapids Barber College, renaming it the Cedar Rapids School
of Barbering and Hairstyling.
In 1976, Bert's oldest son, Terry, assumed leadership of the family
business. He restructured the business and installed updated equipment and
a revised curriculum that reflected changing trends. In the late
seventies, Terry founded the Kansas City School of Barbering and Hairstyling and
moved the Missouri School of Barbering and Hairstyling to its current location
in St. Louis. In 1991, the names of the Des Moines school and the Cedar
Rapids school were changed to the American College of Hairstyling. Although
"barbering" was dropped from the name, the schools continue to train
students for obtaining a barber's license.
Through the generations, the Schools' curriculum and
philosophy have evolved to reflect trends in haircare services. Now, the
American Colleges of Hairstyling offer hairstyles, permanent waves, and hair color to both men and women.
Today, "hairstyling" is part of the name as it more clearly describes
the curriculum and the services today's customers desire, and women have made up more
than 50% of our enrollment. See the section on "Barbering"
for more information.