The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

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Elsie Oschrin Bregman

November 30, 1896–July 26, 1969

by Annette Muffs Botnick

In Brief

Elsie Oschrin Bregman’s pioneering research changed how psychologists measured intelligence. Bregman developed intelligence tests and the first employee training programs while working for R.H. Macy’s from 1919 to 1921, and she earned her doctorate from Columbia in 1922 based on her research. She then studied the mental aptitude of high school students as a predictor of professional success. She later collaborated with Edward L. Thorndyke on revising the Army’s Alpha Test, a placement exam measuring a recruit’s ability to learn, follow instructions, and lead, as well as specific strengths and weaknesses. The pair co-wrote the benchmark study The Measurement of Intelligence in 1926. Bregman ran a private practice in New York from 1935 to1962 and was active in the American Psychology Association, the Association of Consulting Psychologists, and the Institute of Emotional Research of Columbia University’s Teacher’s College.


Elsie Oschrin Bregman was a psychologist most noted for her pioneering research on the measurement of mental ability and intelligence.

She was born on November 30, 1896, in Newark, New Jersey, to Aaron and Theresa (Goldstein) Oschrin. She graduated from Barnard College in 1918 and received her doctorate in psychology from Columbia University in 1922. She married Adolph Bregman, a metallurgist engineer, in 1919, and they had two daughters, Judith and Cynthia.

Bregman developed the first department-store sales testing and employee training program when she worked for R.H. Macy’s from 1919 to 1921. She wrote several scholarly articles reporting on this aspect of her research: “Mental Tests for Retail Saleswomen,” “Studies in Industrial Psychology,” and “Application for Psychological Tests and Ratings in Industry.” She also studied the intellectual ability of high school students and the possibility of predicting vocational success through testing. In 1933, she researched the mental abilities of student nurses, as reported in her monograph “Performance of Student Nurses on Tests of Intelligence.”

In addition, she helped revise the Army’s Alpha Test in the 1920s and 1930s with Edward L. Thorndyke. Both participated in a benchmark study published in 1926 titled The Measurement of Intelligence.

Bregman maintained a private practice in psychology in New York City from 1935 until 1962 and was active in the American Psychology Association, the Association of Consulting Psychologists, and the Institute of Educational Research of Teachers College, Columbia University, and was also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Elsie Oschrin Bregman died on July 26, 1969, in New York City.


BEOAJ; Obituary. NYTimes, July 26, 1969, 25:1.

WWIAJ (1926, 1928, 1938).

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How to cite this page

Botnick, Annette Muffs. "Elsie Oschrin Bregman." Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. 31 December 1999. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on June 4, 2023) <>.