Adam Shortt

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Adam Shortt
Adam Shortt.PNG
Born November 24, 1859
Kilworth, Ontario, Canada
Died January 14, 1931(1931-01-14) (aged 71)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Occupation political economist

Adam Shortt, CMG FRSC (November 24, 1859 – January 14, 1931) was an economic historian in Ontario. He was the first full-time employed academic in the field at a Canadian university (Queen's University.)


Shortt was born in Kilworth, Ontario in on November 24, 1859 to George Shortt and Mary Shields.[1] At the age of twenty he attended Queen's University with the intention of becoming a Presbyterian minister. When he graduated in 1883 however, he pursued graduate studies in philosophy, chemistry and botany.[2][3]

In 1886 Shortt married Elizabeth Smith, one of the first women to receive a medical degree in Canada.[4] The same year he began working as a tutor for John Watson, and in 1887 was appointed a lecturer in the field of political economy at Queen's. In 1891 he was the first to be appointed the John A. Macdonald Professor of Political Science.[3] While a lecturer at Queen's, he was appointed as the editor of the Queen's Journal and is largely credited with moving the paper from a strict focus on campus matters to a more mixed discussion on all university interests, particularly to broaden the readership amongst alumni. He is credited with establishing the first card catalogue at the Queen's Library.[5]

Regarded as the father of professional economics in Canada, Shortt took a historical approach as differentiated from economic theory, as he believed that the economics of nations depend on natural resources, geographic location, and specific economic attributes. Shortt went on to Glasgow University for his master's degree in political economy. He is most well known for his research into the history of Canadian banking and for his association with the National Archives of Canada.[citation needed]

In 1906 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1911. At the time of his death on January 14, 1931, he was a chairman of the Board of Historical Publications at the National Archives, a position he had held since 1918.[2]

Select publications[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Adam Shortt". L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Gordon, Stanley (16 January 2008). "Adam Shortt". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Wilson, Ian E. (1 January 1973). "Short and Doughty: The Cultural Role of the Public Archives of Canada 1904-1935". The Canadian Archivist. 2 (4). ISSN 1923-6395. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Shortt, Elizabeth Smith fonds". University of Waterloo Library. Special Collections & Archives. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Shortt, Adam". Queen's Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 

External links[edit]