Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
R. Perry Shorts Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: R. Perry Shorts Papers,
Creator: Shorts, R. Perry.
Inclusive dates: 1914-1975, and undated
Extent: 6 cubic ft. (in 5 boxes, 1 Oversized flat box, 6 Oversized folder)
Abstract:
The collection documents Shorts' business and insurance acumen, career, and interests, with numerous materials, 1914-1975, and undated.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# many

Access Restrictions:

R. Perry Shorts Papers are open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

R. Perry Shorts Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement

The collection is organized into series by creator, then organized by size, alphabetically and chronologically.


History

Biography:

R. Perry Shorts was born in Morris (Manitoba, Canada) on December 30, 1879, the son of Robert and Eliza Jane (Armstrong) Shorts. He had two brothers, Bruce C. (died 1945) and W. Warren, and a sister, Mrs. Hannah Mary Shorts Vowles (1869-1963), for whom Mount Pleasant’s Vowles Elementary School is named. In 1907, the family moved to Saginaw, Michigan.

In 1900, R. Perry graduated from the Central Michigan Normal School, later Central Michigan University (CMU), with a teacher’s certificate. After graduation, he worked as the principal at Laingsburg High School for a few years. Shorts then attend the University of Michigan’s (U. of M.) Law Department, graduating in 1906. He was immediately admitted to the bar in Saginaw County.

Shortly afterwards, Shorts began his long, successful business career. He became the General Attorney and Vice President of the U.S. Health and Insurance Company. In 1914, the company merged with Mass. Bonding and Insurance Company. Shorts served as the First Vice President and Chairman of the Board of the new company. From 1915 to 1916, he served as its President. In 1920, he left the company to serve as Vice President of the F. W. and F. Carlisle Company in Saginaw. In 1921, Shorts left the Carlisle Company to serve as Director of the Second National Bank of Saginaw. In 1922, Shorts was named as the Bank’s Vice President and Trust Officer. He also served as President of the Bank (1929-1957) and was named Honorary Chairman of the Board in 1958.

Shorts served as President of the International Health and Accident Insurance Company, Saginaw Board of Commerce, and the Rotary Club. Also, he served as Director or Executive Officer of many businesses, including: Michigan Bell Telephone Company; Michigan Sugar Company; National Bank of Detroit, which he helped organize; and the Saginaw Community Chest. He also served as a Regent of the U. of M. (1930-1937).

Among the awards Shorts received were the Horatio Alger Award (1963); U. of M’s Regents Citation (1958) and Regent Emeritus status (1937?); Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Silver Beaver Award (1954); and the Arnold Boutell Award (1962), for distinguished community service.

In 1959, Shorts donated Camp Rotary to the Valley Trails Council of the BSA. In 1963, he donated $25,000 to CMU to establish the R. Perry Shorts Student Aid Fund, in honor of his siblings. (This fund was merged with other financial aid sources at CMU in 1975.) In appreciation and recognition of one CMU’s most successful graduates and supporters, CMU’s new football stadium was christened as Perry Shorts Stadium on November 4, 1972. (In June 1983, the stadium was renamed Kelly/Shorts Stadium to honor Kenneth (Bill) Kelly, CMU Football Coach, 1951-1966.)

Shorts was a member of the Saginaw Board of Commerce, serving as President, 1924-1925; Phi Kappa Psi; Rotary International; the Shriners; the Detroit Club; and the Saginaw Country Club. He was also a 32nd Degree Mason.

On November 12, 1907, Shorts married Helen Hubbard Houseman. Together, they had two children: Robert L. (died by 1936) and Susan.

Shorts wrote and published extensively on insurance, business, and other issues. His insurance digest, compiled circa 1914, was used for years by the insurance industry. Widely requested as a public speaker, Shorts spoke mainly about business issues. Many of his speeches were also published.

R. Perry Shorts died in Saginaw on August 12, 1975. (This information is from the collection, especially his Biographical Materials.)


Collection Scope and Content Note

Most of the collection documents R. Perry Shorts’ business and insurance career, acumen, and interests, particularly in his Articles, Speeches, Photographs and Insurance Decisions, which are typed notes on cards. His social activities and interests, including: education, patriotism, CMU and U. of M., youth groups, and charitable organizations, are documented in same series, as well as in Biographical Materials and Miscellaneous Materials.

Shorts’ banking interests, particularly the history of the Second National Bank of Saginaw and the National Bank of Detroit, American business history, interests, and views, are well documented in his speeches and articles.

The only personal material is found in Shorts’ limited correspondence with his family and friends, and in some photographs. There is no material about his wife and children.

Additionally, the Clarke Historical Library has two publications by Shorts. Currently, the Clarke has no tape-to-tape players or 16 mm film projectors available to listen to the recordings.

See CMU Photograph Files for pictures of Kelly/Shorts (formerly known as Perry Shorts) Stadium. For more information on Hannah Mary Shorts Vowles, see her biography, as written by Jane P. Cole, which is available at Clarke Historical Library. Also of interest are the papers of James S. Symons, which include a memorial resolution that was signed by R. Perry Shorts, among others. These papers are also available at the Clarke.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Shorts, R. Perry.
    • Vowles, Hannah Mary Shorts, 1869-1963.
    • Symons, James S. (James Shirley)
    • Central Michigan University--Alumni and alumnae.
    • Vowles Elementary School (Mount Pleasant, Mich.)
    • National Bank of Detroit--History.
    • Second National Bank of Saginaw (Mich.)--History.
    • University of Michigan --Alumni and alumnae.
    • Boy Scouts of America. Valley Trails Council.
    • Banks and banking--Michigan--Saginaw.
    • Banks and banking--Michigan--Detroit.
    • Insurance--Michigan.
    • Businessmen--Michigan--Saginaw.
    • Saginaw (Mich.)--History.
    • Saginaw (Mich.)-Genealogy.
    • Mount Pleasant (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    R. Perry Shorts Papers. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials, 1916-1975 (Scattered)
    Box   1 F   2
    Articles, Miscellaneous, 1921, undated
    Box   1 F   3
    Articles, Published, 1917-1961
    Box   1 F   4
    Birthday Materials, 1958, 1969, undated
    Box   1 F   5
    Certificates and Awards, General, 1934-1974, undated
    Box   1 F   6
    Certificates and Awards, Horatio Alger Award Materials, 1963
    Box   1 F   7
    Certificates and Awards, University of MIchigan President's Club (Plaque), undated; Regent Emeritus (Plaque), 1937?, undated; 1937?
    Box   1 F   8
    Correspondence, re: Lawsuit vs. Edward Schust, 1930-1931
    Box   1 F   9
    Correspondence re: Camp Rotary, 1959, 1964
    Box   1 F   10
    Correspondence re: Bruce C. Shorts, 1943-1945
    Box   1 F   11
    Correspondence with: CMU, 1918, 1963
    Box   1 F   12
    Correspondence with: Extended Family, 1943-1972 (Scattered), undated
    Box   1 F   13
    Correspondence with: Al Riedel, 1967
    Box   1 F   14
    Correspondence with: Bruce C. Shorts, 1942-1944
    Box   1 F   15
    Correspondence with: W. Warren Shorts, 1943-1961
    Box   1 F   16
    Correspondence with: Mr. and Mrs. J. Shirley Sumons, 1917-1947, undated
    Box   1 F   17
    Correspondence with: Hannah Vowles, 1943-1959
    Box   1 F   18
    Insurance Manuals revised by R. Perry Shorts, 1914-1915, 1925, 1942
    Box   1 F   19
    Mutual Life Insurance Company, Account Book, 1900-1908
    Box   1 F   20
    Personal Account Book, 1918-1923
    Box   1 F   21
    Personal Account Book, 1923-1926
    Box   1 F   22
    Personal Account Book, 1926-1930
    Box   1 F   23
    Personal Account Book, 1930-1934
    Box   1 F   24
    Personal Account Book, 1934-1937
    Box   2 F   1
    Personal Account Book, 1937-1941
    Box   2 F   2
    Personal Account Book, 1941-1945
    Box   2 F   3
    Personal Account Book, 1945-1949
    Box   2 F   4
    Photograph, Toast by R.P.S. at Civic Testimonial Dinner for William H. Doerfner, April 29, 1964
    Box   2 F   5
    Shorts Special Saginaw Welfare League Train Ride, 1936
    Box   2 F   6
    Speeches, Banks and Bankers, 1921-1965
    Box   2 F   7
    Speeches, Business, 1923-1929
    Box   2 F   8
    Speeches, Business, 1930-1938
    Box   2 F   9
    Speeches, Business, 1943-1959
    Box   2 F   10
    Speeches, Business, 1961-1964, undated
    Box   2 F   11
    Speeches, CMU, 1900-1942, 1964, undated
    Box   2 F   12
    Speeches, Dedications (See Speeches-Banks for Bank Dedications), 1925-1960
    Box   2 F   13
    Speeches, Education, High School and Other Graduations, 1901-1958
    Box   2 F   14
    Speeches, Insurance, 1910-1957, undated
    Box   2 F   15
    Speeches, Michigan Bean Jobbers’ Association, Michigan Bean Shippers Association, 1925-1955
    Box   2 F   16
    Speeches, Patriotism, Red Cross, 1920-1959, undated
    Box   2 F   17
    Speeches, Radio Interviews, 1932
    Box   2 F   18
    Speeches, Rotary Clubs, 1924-1959
    Box   2 F   19
    Speeches, Testimonials, Eulogies, Introductions, 1919-1964, undated
    Box   2 F   20
    Speeches, University of Michigan, 1906-1944
    Box   2 F   21
    Speeches, World War I, 1917-1919
    Box   2 F   22
    Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), 1921-1936
    Box   3 F   1
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 1) General Motors, Rusprik Introduction, 50th Birthday Party (R.P.S. Portion Only, Salute to GM, May 10, 1958
    Box   3 F   2
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 2) 1 Round Tape Cannister, 16 mm Film (Moving Picture), R.P.S. Interview on WNEM-TV (Channel 5), December 30, 1958
    Box   3 F   3
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 3) R. Perry Shorts, 79th Birthday Party, Tape 1, December 30, 1958
    Box   3 F   4
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 4) R. Perry Shorts, 79th Birthday Party, Tape 2, December 30, 1958
    Box   3 F   5
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 5) State Convention, Michigan Junior Chamber of Commerce, Bancroft Hotel, Saginaw, Michigan, Address: American Business and Its Problems, by R. Perry Shorts, February 21, 1959
    Box   3 F   6
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 6) Pat McNamara, March 15, 1959
    Box   3 F   7
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 7) 100th Anniversary Luncheon to Honor Saginaw News and Bancroft Hotel (Address by R. Perry Shorts), June 17, 1959
    Box   3 F   8
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 8) Presentation of Gold Watch to Al Riedel at Big Acre Banquet and Ryan Family Discourse, December 10, 1959
    Box   3 F   9
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 9) Industrial Executives Club and Junior Executives Club, Address: 80 Years in America and a Look Ahead, by R. Perry Shorts, May 10, 1961
    Box   3 F   10
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 10) 2nd National 90th Birthday at the Bancroft Hotel with Stewart, Allen, Valley, and R. Perry Shorts, November 8, 1961
    Box   3 F   11
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 11) R. Perry Shorts, Interview on WKNX-TV, February 27, 1963
    Box   3 F   12
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 12) Horatio Alger Awards #1, with Dr. Peale, Anthony Bowles, Castro, May 14 or 15, 1963
    Box   3 F   13
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 13) Horatio Alger Awards #2, with Dorne, Hoffa, Johnson McCall, Nodyne, May 14 or 15, 1963
    Box   3 F   14
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 14) Horatio Alger Awards #3, with Rollins, Shorts, Stone, May 15, 1963
    Box   3 F   15
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 15) To R. Perry Shorts, Recording of Saginaw Rotary Club’s Ladies Night and 50th Anniversary, Pat Oppermann, January 23, 1964
    Box   3 F   16
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 16) Toast by R. Perry Shorts at Civic Testimonial Dinner for William H. Doerfner, April 29, 1964
    Box   3 F   17
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 17) Remarks by R. Perry Shorts at William H. Doerfner’s Retirement Dinner, April 29, 1964
    Box   3 F   18
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 18) 70th Birthday Party for Leland I. Doan (Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Michigan, Address of R. Perry Shorts is #3), December 9, 1964
    Box   3 F   19
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 19) Horatio Alger Class, 1968
    Box   3 F   20
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 20) Horatio Alger Class Reel 1 (Waldorf-Astoria), May 14, 1969
    Box   3 F   21
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 21) Horatio Alger Class Reel 2 (Waldorf-Astoria), May 14, 1969
    Box   3 F   22
    Audio-Visual Materials, Reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 22) Horatio Alger Class Reel 3 (Waldorf-Astoria), May 14, 1969
    Box   4 F   1
    Oversized, Flat Box, Audio-Visual Materials, Birthday Materials, R. Perry Shorts, 79th Birthday, Scrapbook, 1958
    Box   5 F   1
    Newspaper Articles, 1920s-1930s
    Box   5 F   2
    Newspaper Articles, 1940s-1950s
    Box   5 F   3
    Newspaper Articles, 1960s-1970s, undated
    Box   5 F   4
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, A-C, 1909
    Box   5 F   5
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, D-H, 1909
    Box   5 F   6
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, I-P, 1909
    Box   5 F   7
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, R-V, 1909
    Box   5 F   8
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, A, 1909
    Box   5 F   9
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, B-C, 1909
    Box   5 F   10
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, C-D, 1909
    Box   5 F   11
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, E-I, 1909
    Box   5 F   12
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, J-O, 1909
    Box   6 F   1
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, P (folder 1 of 2), 1909
    Box   6 F   2
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, P (folder 2 of 2), 1909
    Box   6 F   3
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, S-V, 1909
    Box   6 F   4
    Newspaper Articles, R. Perry Shorts Health, Accident and Burglary Insurance Decisions Compiled and Copyrighted by R Perry Shorts, Liability Insurance, 1909
    Box   7 F   1
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Family, undated
    Box   7 F   2
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Groups (folder 1 of 3), undated
    Box   7 F   3
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Groups (folder 2 of 3), undated
    Box   7 F   4
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Groups (folder 3 of 3), undated
    Box   7 F   5
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Miscellaneous, undated
    Box   7 F   6
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Personal Friends, undated
    Box   7 F   7
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Portraits (of R. Perry Shorts), undated
    Box   7 F   8
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Sports (folder 1 of 3), undated
    Box   7 F   8
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Sports (folder 2 of 3), undated
    Box   7 F   8
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photographs, Sports (folder 3 of 3), undated
    Box   7 F   9
    Audio-Visual Materials, Photograph Album of Testimonial Dinner, Michigan Bell Telephone Company, April 20, 1971
    F   1  
    Oversized Folders, 1) General, 1942-1969
    F   2  
    Oversized Folders, 2) Arnold Boutell Award (Plaque), 1962
    F   3  
    Oversized Folders, Oversized Photographs 3) Fishing Trips, 1908, 1941, 1958, 1961, undated
    F   4  
    Oversized Folders, Oversized Photographs 4) Michigan Bell Telephone Company, Board of Directors, 1951-1952, 1967-1968
    F   5  
    Oversized Folders, Oversized Photographs 5) with 3 small folders inside it with: 1) Appreciation Luncheon G.M. Corp. by Saginaw Board of Commerce, April 22, 1936; 2) Health and Accident Underwriters Conference, Book-Cadillac Hotel, Detroit, May 14-16, 1951; 3) Horatio Alger Awardees, May 15, 1963, 1936; 1951; 1963
    F   6  
    Oversized Folders, Oversized Photographs 6) with 6 small folders inside it with: 1) Biographical, 1906, undated; 2) Elf Khurafeh Shrine Temple (Saginaw), 1952; 3) Michigan Bean Jobbers, 1950; 4) Saginaw Rotary Club, 1964, undated; 5) Second National Bank of Saginaw, Board of Directors, 1959, 1966, 1972; 6) Unidentified People, 1956, undated, 1906, undated; 1952; 1950; 1964, undated; 1959, 1966, 1972; 1956, undated