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Samuel Kohs

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Samuel Calmin Kohs (June 2, 1890 – January 23, 1984) was American psychologist who spent his career in clinical and educational psychology. At age 28, he developed a set of small variously colored blocks that are used to form test patterns in psychodiagnostic examination, the Kohs blocks.

Samuel Kohs was born in New York City]]. From 1918 to 1922, he was a professor at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, and at the University of Oregon. During this time, he was also a psychologist for the Portland Court of Domestic Relations. After he left Portland, from 1924 to 1926, Kohs was the executive director of the Jewish Welfare Federation in Alameda County, California. In 1925, he founded the Oakland Placement and Guidance Service. After he left the Jewish Welfare Federation in 1926, he served as the executive director for the Jewish Family Service Agency, in San Francisco. Leaving there in 1928, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he worked for the next five years at the Federation of Jewish Charities. In 1928, Kohs became the eastern representative on the Jewish Committee for Personal Service in the state institutions of California. In New York City, he also served as the chair of the Dept. of Social Technology, in New York University]]'s Graduate School of Social Work. From 1938 to 1940, Kohs directed the Resettlement Division of the National Refugee Service (an organization now known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (or H.I.A.S.)). From 1939 to 1941, he worked on the Refugee Service Committee in Los Angeles, Calif. After he left the Refugee Service Committee, he worked as the administrative field secretary of the Jewish Welfare Board's Western States Division. He was employed in this capacity until 1956. During part of this time, from 1942 to 1947, Kohs was the director of the Bureau of War Records, in New York City. In addition to his time as the head of various organizations, Kohs also compiled information about Jewish participation in World War II; invented the Kohs Block Design Testthe IQ slide rule, and designed the Ethical Discrimination Test.

The Western Jewish History Center, of the Judah L. Magnes Museum, in Berkeley, California has a large collection of personal papers, documents, and photographs relating to Samuel Kohs, his work and to members of his family.


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