History of Blackstone

A pioneer in distance learning, serving students since 1890.

If you search back issues of the World Book Encyclopedia, you will find Blackstone listed as one of the oldest correspondence schools in the nation. Read on to find our rich history that led us to offering online degrees.

At the turn of the century, individuals with a desire to study law were confronted with many challenges. Most textbooks were written in a technical style and loaded with Latin words and phrases making it difficult to understand.

Around 1912, a group of prominent educators identified with the Chicago-based Blackstone Institute decided to prepare an up-to-date commentary dealing with the modern rules of law and their origin, nature, and growth.

Eugene A. Gilmore, a Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Educational Committee of the American Bar Association, was appointed Editor-in-Chief for the new series. His high standing in the legal education field, along with his acquaintance with university professors, lawyers, and judges, enabled him to attract the best legal talent for this project.

As the volumes were released to judges, lawyers, and law schools, the response was highly gratifying. The editorial work and the manner in which the books filled a long felt need were instantly recognized. Court after court added the books to their libraries. Legislative and public libraries purchased them. Many resident law schools adopted articles for their classrooms. Attorneys purchased the books for reference work. The series was cited by State Supreme Courts and United States District Courts. Why? Because judges, lawyers, and laymen recognized them as the only simple yet authoritative commentary on the law.

In the late 1970s, the educational component of the Blackstone Institute changed from a School of Law to a legal assistant/paralegal program. The school moved from Chicago to Dallas and assumed operations under the name Blackstone Paralegal Studies, Inc. Additional study units on legal research, ethics, and employment skills were added so that graduating students could sit for the prestigious Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam.

Direct Learning Systems, Inc., a full-service distance education company, purchased the legal assistant/paralegal school from the retiring owner in 2001. Since 2001, twenty-six Career Diploma and Certificate courses have been added. To reflect the additional programs offered, in 2002 the school was renamed Blackstone Career Institute (BCI).

Blackstone Career Institute is a private licensed distance education school located in Pennsylvania, offering adult learners affordable, flexible, career oriented training programs. Nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, Washington, D.C. and regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools, Philadelphia, PA. BCI is approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA), sponsored by the Department of Defense (DOD).

BCI’s curriculum is designed in collaboration with professionals, qualified and credentialed subject matter experts, and adjunct faculty to promote career-oriented education in the paralegal, education and allied health fields. Our programs meet the requirement of accreditation organizations while allowing flexibility to implement, update and evaluate curricula based upon the need of our students and certifying bodies. BCI’s programs were developed and are offered to support the Institution’s mission and goals.