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View Shortridge High School Yearbooks on IMCPL Web Branch

September 1, 2010

A 70-year collection of yearbooks from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis is the latest addition to the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library's digital library.

Entire yearbooks of most years from 1898 to 1968 are represented, giving viewers an opportunity to see photos of famous Shortridge alumni, including author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Don Mellett, civil rights lawyer and activist Henry J. Richardson, and Madelyn Pugh Davis, who wrote for the popular television show, "I Love Lucy." Photos of clubs, athletic teams, administrative personnel, and other school activities are also featured.

Shortridge High School's list of achievements includes the first daily student newspaper in the country, a school radio station which began in the 1940's, and the first American Field Study exchanges in Indianapolis high schools.

Vonnegut 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."

From the beginning, Shortridge was an innovative educational force in the city. It was the oldest free public high school in Indiana, opening as Indianapolis High School on the Circle downtown in 1864. Its first superintendent, Abram C. Shortridge, took the unusual steps at the time of hiring female teachers and allowing admission of African-American students, as well as lengthening the school year from 3 1/2  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. In 1928, the school moved from downtown to its current location at 34th and Meridian Streets, where it now serves as a magnet high school for law and public policy.

Users of the digital collection will find many features to help them get the most out of the collection, including full-text searching capabilities, creation and printing of PDF files, and the ability to crop, save, e-mail and export images. The collection can be accessed from the Library's homepage by clicking on the "Digital Library" link.

The collection is presented in partnership with IUPUI, with funding from the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

Other historic collections available in IMCPL's Digital Library collection include the Indianapolis Postcards collection, artifacts from The Children's Museum, the May Wright Sewall Papers, the World War One Poster collection, the Free Soil Banner newspaper, programs from English's Opera House, and actual recordings of poems read by beloved Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley.