The American College of Hairstyling was originally founded as The Moler Barber College in 1899. It and its sister school in St. Louis are thought to be the second and third oldest schools in the nation. However, many people know the school as the Iowa Barber College. Today, the curriculum includes the core skills of barbering in addition to the latest techniques of men’s and women’s hairstyling.
1899 – 1940
A. B. Moler A. B. Moler started the first Moler Barber College in Chicago, in 1893, and in 1899 franchised one in St. Louis and another to Dwight Quaintance in Des Moines. Bert Millis Sr. Bert Millis Sr. purchased The Des Moines Moler Barber College in 1912 and changed the name to The Iowa Barber College.
1940 – 2016
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 metro Des Moines. In 1969, The Iowa Barber College moved to its present location at 603 East 6th St. and was renamed The Iowa School of Barbering and Hairstyling.
In 1976, Bert’s oldest son, Terry, assumed leadership of the school. He restructured the business, installed updated equipment and introduced a revised curriculum that reflected changing trends.
In 1977, Terry purchased the barber school in St. Louis. That school is thought to be the second oldest school in the nation. He changed the name to the Missouri School of Barbering & Hairstyling and moved it to the suburbs.
In 1993 the Des Moines’ school name was changed to the American College of Hairstyling and has operated under that name ever since.