From the beginning, Shortridge High School was an innovative educational force in the city. It is the oldest free public high school in Indiana, opening as Indianapolis High School on the Circle in downtown Indianapolis in 1864. The first superintendent, Abram C. Shortridge, took the unusual steps of hiring female teachers and allowing the admission of African American students, as well as lengthening the school year from 3½ to 9 months and introducing a graded system. After a second high school was constructed in 1897, Indianapolis High School was renamed Shortridge in his honor, and in 1928 the school moved from downtown to its current location at 34th and Meridian.
The list of school achievements includes the first daily student newspaper in the country, a school radio station which began in the 1940s, and the first American Field Study exchanges in Indianapolis high schools. There is a long list of famous Shortridge alumni, from Senator Richard Lugar to Madelyn Pugh, writer for I Love Lucy, to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Don Mellett, to civil rights lawyer and activist Henry J. Richardson. But perhaps the most well-known alumnus of Shortridge is author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., who is famously quoted as saying of his alma mater, "...we had a daily paper, we had a debating team, had a fencing team. We had a chorus, a jazz band, a serious orchestra. And all this with a Great Depression going on. And I wanted everybody to have such a school."
The Indianapolis Public Library and its digitization partner, IUPUI University Library, are happy to present this digital collection of Shortridge High School materials from the Indianapolis Special Collections Room of the Indianapolis Public Library and the Indiana Historical Society Library, published here with the generous support of The Library Fund, a fund of The Indianapolis Foundation.