John Clark Ridpath,

John Clark Ridpath (April 26, 1840 – 1900) was an American educator, historian, and editor. He was born in Putnam County, Indiana. His parents were from West Virginia, and began life under circumstances of great discouragement and hardship. The son had no early educational advantages besides those that he obtained at frontier schools, but his appetite for books was insatiable, and at seventeen he was a teacher.


At nineteen he entered Indiana Asbury College (later DePauw University), where he graduated with the highest honors of his class. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, as well. Before graduation he had been elected to an instructorship in the Thorntown, Indiana, academy, and in 1864 he was made its principal. This office he held until 1867, when he was chosen to fill the chair of languages at Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas. During the same period he served as superintendent of the Lawrenceburg, Indiana public schools.

In 1869 he was elected professor of English literature in Asbury College, and two years later he was assigned to the chair of belles-lettres and history of the same institution. In 1879 he was elected vice-president of the university, and he was largely the originator of the measures by which that institution was placed under the patronage of Washington C. DePauw, and took his name. In 1880 he received the degree of LL. D. from the University of Syracuse, New York.

In 1885 Ridpath left his position at the University to devote himself more to writing. In the later 1890s, he was editor of a magazine called "The Arena." He wrote biographies of James G. Blaine, James A. Garfield, William Ewart Gladstone, and James Otis. His popular volumes of history were successful, and reissued many times.

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