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August 01, 1903


JAMA. 1903;XLI(5):317. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.04480020025012

Professor Thorndyke,1 of Columbia University, New York, has traced the careers of 5,283 college graduates (1840-1900) who were elected to the Phi Beta Kappa, membership in which is a recognized mark of scholarship. The object in doing this was to learn whether any given profession is gaining or losing in attractiveness to the type of men represented by membership in this fraternity. In the first place Professor Thorndyke finds that there is a remarkable uniformity in the percentage of Phi Beta Kappa men entering the leading professions, namely, from 64 to 68 per cent. for 1840-1900. But the percentages entering the various professions have been far from constant; thus the number taking up law was nearly twice as large in 1890-1894 as in 1840-1860. There has been considerable variation, too, in the number that have taken up teaching as a profession. The Phi Beta Kappa man was "three times

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