ABSTRACT

First World War induced a period of extraordinarily rapid technological development, but of more significance for American science was an even more rapid transformation in the general perception of science. A profile of the growth of higher education in the 1920s consequently requires looking at separate categories of institutions as well as at different programs within institutions in order to identify relative change. The actual wartime accomplishments of the National Research Council are somewhat peripheral to the subject of university research, but the way in which the council pursued its objectives is ultimately germane. Enrollments were depleted by enlistments, and faculties were thinned by wartime service. The collegiate syndrome of the 1920s also had an important bearing on the external relations of the research universities. The prevailing sentiment during the 1920s was decidedly against an explicitly meritocratic selection for admission to college.