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Elsie Oschrin Bregman



Training Location(s):

PhD, Columbia University, (1922)

BA, Barnard College, (1918)

Primary Affiliation(s):

Teacher’s College, Columbia University, (1922-1927, 1931-1934)

The Psychological Corporation, (1924-1934)

Media Links:
Archival Collection

Bregman, Elsie Papers. The Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, OH.


Elsie Oschrin Bregman in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia




Career Focus: Personnel selection; mental ability; intelligence testing; counselling.


Elsie Oschrin Bregman was born in Newark, New Jersey to Aaron Oschrin and Theresa Goldstein on November 30, 1896. In 1918, Bregman graduated from Barnard College and in 1922, she obtained her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University. Bregman was a student of E. L. Thorndike, who conducted some of the first research on personnel selection. She was also a student of Leta Stetter Hollingworth, an early American psychologist. In 1919, Bregman married Adolph Bregman, a consulting metallurgical engineer. They had two daughters, Judith and Cynthia.


Bregman contributed to the development of industrial and organizational psychology. She revised and published intelligence tests for personnel selection in business and educational establishments. Although many first generation American women psychologists found marriage to be detrimental to their career, as a member of the second generation of female psychologists Bregman's career does not appear to have been negatively affected by her marriage. In fact, she worked in positions that were not stereotypically acceptable for women at the time. For example, Bregman worked for private businesses. In 1919, Bregman was hired by R. H. Macy as a psychologist to handle the personnel issues of Macy's department store. She researched recruitment, selection, and training procedures, and in one study applied the selection criteria that Thorndike had developed. Bregman developed and revised the Army Alpha General Intelligence Examinations for business and educational establishments. This work appeared as the "Bregman Revision of the Army Alpha Examinations for General Intelligence Forms A and B." In 1924, she was hired by psychologist James McKeen Cattell's Psychological Corporation as an associate (and later as assistant secretary). She eventually developed a lifelong friendship with Cattell, and from 1942 to her death, she was the trustee of the James McKeen Cattell Fund, also serving as the fund's secretary/treasurer from 1950 to 1963.


Bregman was a member of many applied psychology organizations. In 1931, she served as vice-president of the Association of Consulting Psychologist (ACP), was a member of the ACP's Executive Committee from 1935-1937, and chair of the ACP's Committee on Constitution and Bylaws in 1933. In 1938, she served as chair of the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws of the New York State Association of Applied Psychology. In 1939, she was chair of the Committee on Membership of the American Association for Applied Psychology (AAAP).


On July 26, 1969, Bregman passed away in New York City, at the age of 72.


by Florence Truong (2010)

To cite this article, see Credits

Selected Works:
By Elsie Oschrin Bregman

Bregman, E. O. (1921). A study in industrial psychology-tests for special abilities. Journal of Applied Psychology, 5, 127-151.


Bregman, E. O. (1922). A scientific plan for sizing up employees. System, 696-763.


Bregman, E. O. (1922). Studies in industrial psychology. Archives of Psychology, 9, 1 -60.


Bregman, E. O. (1926). Revision of the Army Alpha Examination. Form A. New York: Psychological Corporation.


Bregman, E. O. (1933). The performance of student nurses on tests of intelligence. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.


Bregman, E. O. (1935). Bregman Language Completion Scales. Forms A and B. New York: Psychological Corporation.


Bregman, E. O. (1935). Revision of the Army Alpha Examination. Form B. New York: Psychological Corporation.


Bregman, E. O. (1936). Comprehensive individual history record form and manual: Infancy through high school. New York: Psychological Corporation.

About Elsie Oschrin Bregman

Koppes, L. L. (1997). American female pioneers of industrial and organizational psychology during the early years. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 500-515


Koppes, L. L. (Ed.). (2007). Historical perspectives in industrial and organizational psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.