(Sept. 6, 1848-Nov. 15, 1924). Born in Utica, Michigan, Roda E. Selleck was the daughter of Franklin and Elizabeth Knight Madison Selleck. She studied at Harvard University with Denham Ross, a painter, collector, and scholar of art history who also was a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In addition, Selleck studied at the University of Syracuse, the University of Illinois, and Purdue University. She began her career teaching at the Michigan State Normal School in Saginaw.

Selleck came to Indianapolis in 1881. She first taught English and Latin in the Indianapolis Public Schools. In 1884, she began teaching art at Indianapolis High School (later Shortridge High School) and eventually became head of the department. Initially hired at the Indianapolis High School as a drawing teacher, Selleck also trained her students in watercolor and charcoal, as well as art history and art appreciation. She introduced leather, pottery, jewelry, and metalwork in the curriculum. Dedicated to students, Selleck often stayed at the school until the early morning monitoring the pottery kiln.

Recognized as a leader of the Arts and Crafts movement in Indianapolis, she worked on numerous projects with the John Herron Art Institute. She served on its board of directors and taught pottery at Herron from 1915 to 1916. She also was an instructor at the school’s summer institute at Winona Lake for 10 years. Selleck taught a generation of Indiana artists and craftsmen and inspired younger woman artists including Janet Payne Bowles and Terre Haute artist Ada Walter Shulz. Both were her students at Indianapolis High School. Selleck was instrumental in establishing a standardized art exhibition at the Indiana State Fair—the first state fair to do so.

An accomplished artist herself, Selleck exhibited alongside noted Hoosier Group artists T. C. Steele William Forsyth, and J. Ottis Adams. Her work also appeared with that of American artists William Merritt Chase, J. F. Cropsey, C. Hassam, and C. W. Eaton. Prior to its conversion to a junior high school in 1981, the Shortridge High School building at 34th and Meridian streets housed the Roda Selleck Art Gallery, named in her honor. She is buried in the Utica Cemetery in Utica, Michigan.

Revised February 2021

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