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Shortridge, Abraham Crum, 1833-1919



  • Existence: October 23, 1833 – October 8, 1919

Biographical Information

Abraham (Abram) C. Shortridge was born October 23, 1883, in Henry County, Indiana. During his life he became well-known as an educator, serving as superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools and later as the second president of Purdue University.

Shortridge was named superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools in 1863, where he remained until 1874. During his tenure, Indianapolis Public Schools received increased funding and a longer school year was established. Shortridge was also involved in the creation of the Indianapolis Public Library and a local teacher training school; under his leadership, Indianapolis Public Schools were also opened to African-American children.

Shortridge was appointed president of Purdue University on June 12, 1874. During the 1874-1875 academic year Purdue welcomed its first students; in 1875, the university awarded its first degree. Later in 1875 the first female students and faculty joined Purdue. Under Shortridge, the Schools of Engineering, Natural Sciences, Agriculture, and Military Science were created. Shortridge resigned in December 1875 due to poor health and conflicts with John Purdue.

Following his time at Purdue, Abraham Shortridge farmed land east of downtown of Indianapolis and served as the Warren Township (Marion County, Indiana) Justice of the Peace. During much of his life he experienced poor eyesight and was legally blind in his later years.

Shortridge died October 8, 1919; he is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Schutt, Amy C. (1994). "Shortridge, Abram Crum". In Bodenhamer, David J.; Barrows, Robert G. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indiana University Press. p. 1259. ISBN 9780253112491.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Douglass Shortridge collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 213
Scope and Contents The Douglass Shortridge collection contains artifacts from Shortridge's student years at Purdue, historical newspapers from the end of World War II, a newspaper obituary of Abram C. Shortridge, and other documents accumulated during Shortridge's career.
Dates: 1919 - 2003