Cliometrics and the colleges: The campus condition, 1880 to 1910

John R. Thelin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The use of statistics and ratios of institutional performance has become integral to the study of organizations in higher education. Unfortunately, analyses have been limited because hegis data and other comprehensive statistical bases have been compiled only for recent years. This study advances the notion of cliometrics-historical statistics - as a strategy for joining the study of the past and present condition of colleges and universities. To illustrate the applications of cliometrics, case studies of enrollment, retention, and attrition for the period 1880 to 1910 at Amherst, Harvard, Transylvania, Kentucky, and The College of William and Mary were summarized. The residual finding is that careful analysis of each institution's retention profiles prompts researchers to rethink the conventional wisdom about going to college as a cohesive, four-year experience a century ago.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-437
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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