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Walter Van Dyke Bingham Papers

Identifier: 1964-0001

Scope and Contents

The Bingham Papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, administrative documents, reports, manuscripts, test forms, photographs, books and scholarly journals and small artifacts dating from 1852 to 1965. Family papers and posthumous documents included in the collection. Series designation is unclear and pending-folders are not marked with Series names, and the chronological arrangement of the papers makes categorization difficult.

Bingham's roles in various academic fields and his contributions to numerous individuals and organizations are evident in the range of notable correspondents. These include James Angell and Robert Yerkes of the American Psychological Association, Samuel Gompers of the American Federation of Labor, Alexander Graham Bell, E.L. Thorndike, Charles S. Myers, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover. Respected by psychologists and academics, Bingham encouraged research and discussion regarding the relation between intelligence, vocation, and personality.

The majority of this collection has been microfilmed and is available for research.


  • 1900-1966


Some classified documents have been removed and will be replaced within the collection once their restrictions expire.

Biographical Sketch

Walter Van Dyke Bingham (1880-1952) pioneered in psychological research at Carnegie Institute of Technology during the early decades of the twentieth century. Born in Swan Lake City, Iowa, Bingham graduated from Beloit College in 1901. He received a Masters degree in 1907 from Harvard and doctorates from both Harvard, and the University of Chicago the next year. Bingham began working at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1915 as founder and director of the Division of Applied Psychology. The Division was responsible for entrance testing and vocational guidance, as well as providing courses in psychology and education. Bingham recognized that the business community had similar needs that the Division could address, from standard methods of personnel selection to research and training in several vocationally oriented fields.

During World War I, the U.S. Army requested the assistance of Bingham and other psychologists involved in vocational education and research on intelligence testing. These psychologists worked for the War Department as the Committee for Classification of Personnel in the Army, of which Bingham was executive secretary. The Committee developed and revised a series of tests to determine rank and assignment for enlisted men and recruits. These intelligence and personality tests are forerunners of the familiar Scholastic Aptitude Tests. Having served the army as a psychologist in the first World War, Dr. Bingham was recalled by the War Department when World War II broke out to serve on the Army's National Research Council on Classification of Military Personnel. At the same time he served the Adjutant General's office as chief psychologist.

The testing methods developed during World War I were also adapted for use in business by the Division of Applied Psychology. The schools and bureaus worked with business leaders to determine the ideal traits for workers and managers, leading to standardization of retail training and testing methods used by personnel departments. This research reflected the growing support for the field of industrial psychology. Bingham's interest in industrial psychology continued after his departure from Carnegie Institute in 1924 and in his directorship of the Personnel Research Federation in New York City.

From 1946 to 1948, Bingham was chairman of the Council of Advisers to the Director of Personnel and Administration of the Army's General Staff. Since 1949, he had served the Secretary of Defense as a consultant on personnel policies. Dr. Bingham was past president of the American Association of Applied Psychology and past secretary of the American Psychological Association.


85 Linear feet (88 boxes, including one oversized box. )




Includes early examples of aptitude tests. Bingham (1880-1952) was the founder and director of CIT's Division of Applied Psychology. Approximately two thirds of the collection is on microfilm.


The collection was donated by Millicent Todd Bingham on February 7, 1964 at the request of Kenneth H. Fagerhaugh and Prof. Glen U. Cleeton. It arrrived in several shipments throughout 1964; part of the Bingham papers had been on loan to Dr Leonard Ferguson.


Please see "Restrictions."


Before receipt by CMU, some material was arranged and classified by Dr. Leonard W. Ferguson. After receipt, the initial arrangement and inventory of the collection was undertaken by a graduate student from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh (probably Sidney Wang), under Glen U. Cleeton's supervision.
Walter Van Dyke Bingham Papers 1964.0001
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Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021