Year Person Event
1916 Binet & Simon Plot performance levels against an independent variables and use the plots in test development
1936 Richardson Derived relationship between IRT model parameters and classical item parameters, which provided an initial way for obtaining IRT parameter estimates
1943,44 Lawley New procedures for parameter estimation
1952 Lord Described 2-P normal ogive model, derived model parameter estimates, and considered applications of the model
1957,58 Birnbaum Substituted the more tractable logistic models for the normal ogive model
1960 Rasch Developed 3 item response models and described them in his book Probabilistic Models For Some Intelligence And Attainment Test
1967 Wright The leader and catalyst for most of the Rasch model research in the US throughout 1970s. His presentation at the ETS Invitational Conference on Testing problems served as a major stimulus for work in IRT, especially with the Rasch model. Later, his highly successful AERA Rasch model training programs contributed substantially to the understanding of the Rasch model by many researchers.
1968 Lord & Novick Provided 5 chapters (4 of them were prepared by Birnbaum). 
1969 Wright & Panchapakesan Developed BICAL which was of immense importance because it facilitated applications of the Rasch model
1969 Samejima Her model handled both polychotomous and continuous responses data and extended unidimensional models to the multidimensional case
1972 Bock Contributed several important new ideas about parameter estimation
1974 Lord LOGIST - new parameter estimation
1974 Fischer Described his extensive research program with linear logistic models
1976 Lord Made available LOGIST, a computer program for carrying out parameter estimation with logistic test model
1977 Baker Comprehensively reviewed parameter estimation methods
1977   Journal of Educational Measurement - Special issue of IRT applications
1979 Wright & Stone Best Test Design - described the theory underlying the Rasch model, and many promising applications
1980 Lord Applications to Item Response Theory to Practical testing Problems - 3P IRT model
1980 Weiss Proceedings of the 1979 Computerized Adaptive Testing Conference
1982 Lord (at ETS) 2ed LOGIST
Summary based on Hambleton & Swaminathan (1985)