Shortridge High School39.7718771, -86.1551571
Part of the Indianapolis Public Schools system, Shortridge High School has been home to several notable authors and writers, including I Love Lucy writer Madelyn Pugh and authors Kurt Vonnegut, Dan Wakefield and Marguerite Young.
b. 1921 – d. 2011
b. 1922 – d. 2007
b. 1908 – d. 1995
3401 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
NOW: A Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut (broadcast on PBS, Oct. 7, 2005)
It’s my dream of America with great public schools. I thought we should be the envy of the world with our public schools. And I went to such a public school. So I knew that such a school was possible. Shortridge High School in Indianapolis produced not only me but the head writer on the I Love Lucy show [Madelyn Pugh]. And, my God, we had a daily paper, we had debating teams and 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.
Nuvo, April 10, 2018
Shortridge [High School] was always very important to Kurt, and it’s always been important to me too. We used to talk about it a lot. In fact, after I met him the first time, several writer friends said, “Oh, you met Vonnegut. Did you talk about writing?” And I said, “No, we talked about Shortridge.”
“Where the Landscape Moved Like Waves: An Interview with Marguerite Young” in Sailing the Inland Sea
When [Marguerite Young] taught at Shortridge, Vonnegut was in her homeroom. “He used to sit in a class,” she remembered, “with a bottle of fireflies. He was doing an experiment. Vonnegut called me up when I was in Iowa and said ‘I’m going to the University of Iowa and I would like to know if I can tell them that I studied with you.’ Vonnegut’s a brilliant man, more brilliant than his writing. I think that he will be remembered as a cult figure one hundred years from now. He told me once that he didn’t want to write like me; he wanted to be popular.”
Madelyn Pugh attended Shortridge High School and served as the Friday editor of the Shortridge Daily Echo. She began her professional career writing for radio shows first in Indianapolis then in California. With Bob Carroll Jr., she began writing for Lucille Ball’s radio show, My Favorite Husband. The two created the pilot for I Love Lucy, which aired in October 1951, and continued as head writers through the show’s six-year run. The pair wrote for many other television shows during the remainder of Pugh’s career.
Dan Wakefield is a novelist, journalist and screenwriter who lives in Indianapolis. He began his career as a civil rights reporter for The Nation, The Atlantic, Esquire and The New York Times. His books include Going All the Way, Starting Over and many other works of fiction and nonfiction. Wakefield created the NBC prime-time TV series James at 15, and Starting Over and Going All the Way became feature films. Learn more about Dan at www.danwakefield.com.
Marguerite Young was born in Indianapolis and studied at Indiana University and Butler University. She later earned an MA in Elizabethan and Jacobean literature at the University of Chicago. She taught at Indianapolis’s Shortridge High School and the University of Iowa before moving to New York City in 1943. Young is best known for her massive novel Miss MacIntosh, My Darling.
Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis to a prominent German-American family. He is best known for his novels that combine science fiction, satire and dark humor such as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions. Vonnegut was a self-proclaimed humanist and socialist (influenced by the style of Indiana’s own Eugene V. Debs) and was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
SHORTRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL
3401 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Closest IndyGo Stops;
34th Street Red Line Station
34th Street & Illinois Street (Routes 18 & 28)
Central Avenue & 34th Street (Routes 4, 19, 39)
How to Plan a Trip on IndyGo:
Here is a digital copy of the Shortridge Daily Echo from 1938! Read to get a glimpse at what life was like at the high school and in Indianapolis in the 1930s. Madelyn Pugh is credited as one of the reporters for this issue, which covers a range of topics varying from a student’s assessment of the latest films to another student’s perspective on some of the issues facing Indianapolis at the time.
Here’s a photograph of the editors of the Shortridge Daily Echo in 1940. Pictured among them is a young Kurt Vonnegut, who was a senior at the time.
Frank Anderson, a Shortridge High School alumnus, was the first African American sheriff of Marion County. His story, detailed in this article, is one of strength and an indomitable will to help and inspire others. In his retirement, Anderson has turned to writing poetry to further inspire those around him.
Linda Lewis-Everett was born in Indianapolis and attended Shortridge High School. She is the author of I Still Hear the Drums which won an Authors Academy Award in 2019. Find out more about Linda and her work here.
Dan Wakefield, best-selling novelist and Shortridge alumnus, often draws inspiration from his life while living in Indianapolis. In this article, he touches on his relationship with Kurt Vonnegut, whom he met while editing for the Daily Echo.
On April 27 and 29, we projected yearbook photos of Bookmark Indy authors who attended Shortridge onto the school’s building. See the show here.