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Dr. Walter Bingham, 1880-1952


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 3/20/2011 at 19:05:14

Emmet County Boys
What They Are Doing Now

Dr. Walter Bingham
Brother of Hon. L. L. Bingham of Estherville, Executive of Carnegie Institute of Technology

Dr. Walter V. Bingham graduated from the Estherville High School in the famous class of ’97. He is now one of the major executives of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh. His father was the highly respected merchant, Lemuel R. Bingham, who first came to this county in1880; and his brother is the Lewis L. Bingham of this city.

Walter Bingham was one of the first graduates of the Estherville High School to break into “Who’s Who in America. He also appears in “Who’s Who in Music,” because he has published investigations in the science of music, especially the music of primitive peoples. In the biographical directory of American Men of Science, his name is printed with a star, which means that among the 10,000 scientists whose biographies are included in the directory, he is judged to be among the thousand most eminent American men of science. He is best known for his development of modern psychology in its application to business and manufacturing. He is also recognized as a pioneer in the development of intelligence examinations for measuring the mentality of college students.

His biographies in the dictionaries read somewhat as follows:

Bingham, Dr. Walter Van Dyke, Psychologist. Born Swan Lake, Iowa, October 20, 1880. Son of Lemuel Rothwell and Martha Everts Tracy Bingham. A. B., Beloit ’01; A.M., Harvard, ’07; Ph.D., Chicago, ’08; instructor in psychology, Chicago, ’06-’07; educational psychology, Teachers College, Columbia, ’08-’10; Assistant Prof. psychology and education, Dartmouth, ’10-’15; Prof. psychology, Carnegie Institute of Technology, ’16-’18; director, division of co-operative research, ’21.Executive secretary, committee on classification of personnel in the army, ’17-’18; Lieutenant. Colonel U.S.A., ’18-’19; charming division of anthropology and psychology National Research Council, ’19-’20. Fellow Am. Assn. for the Advancement of Science. Member Am. Psychological Assn., (sec’y. ’11-’13) International Musical Society, Sigma Xi, Phi Betta Kappa; Member Pittsburgh Athletic Assn., Cosmos Club (Washington) City Club (New York.) Author: Studies in Melody, and various contributions to scientific journal on audition, vocal functions and mental tests. Present research; psychological effects of music. Republican, Congregationalist.

Walter Bingham was born in the now extinct village of Swan Lake and moved to Estherville when he was eight years old. Some of our older residents recall his earliest business venture in selling pop corn at the trains, by which he earned enough money to go to The World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893, and later paid a portion of his college expenses. His first job outside of the home was a printer’s devil, inking forms for the weekly edition of the Emmet County Republican. After finishing the high school course at the age of sixteen, he was first employed as rodman on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway at $45.00 a month (?) and then went to the University of Kansas, finally graduating from Beloit College, Wisconsin, at the age of twenty with honors in scholarship. He taught mathematics and physics in Beloit Academy and Elgin High School, and then took up graduate study in psychology at the Universities of Chicago, Harvard and Berlin, returning to Chicago to take the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1908. Since then he has been a member of the faculties of Columbia University, Dartmouth College and Carnegie Institute of Technology.

During the War he helped organize the Committee on Classification of Personnel in the Army, which devised and administered the system for classifying and assigning soldiers and officers according to their best usefulness to the Army, as determined by their records of previous experience, education, intelligence score, personal interview, rating, etc. He was sent by Secretary of War Baker on a special mission to France and England to see how this classification system was operating in France, and to learn all that could be learned about the British methods of testing skilled tradesmen whom the Army needed. The close of the war found him in the Personnel Branch of the General Staff.

Dr. Bingham, as he is usually called, has been successively Professor, Dean and Director, his present title being Director of Research. His work consists chiefly in bringing the great industries of Pittsburgh and the east into co-operative relationship with the research facilities of the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He has been three times in Europe, studying and travelling as far as Constantinople. He has lectured in Seattle and San Francisco, as well as in the east.

In 1920 he married Millicent Todd, the writer, traveler and lecturer daughter of Professor David Todd, the distinguished astronomer of Amherst College.

Walter Bingham was a superior student in high school, but he did not lead his class. Wayburn E. Johnston and Lillian Davis had better scholarship records at the end of four years. He kept up a good scholarship record in college and graduate school, although he spent a part of the time in earning his expenses.

There are boys in the graduating class this year who will make just as good a success in the university world as Walter has made, and who will bring just as much credit on Estherville as he.

Source: Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, April 19, 1922.


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