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Occupational Therapy - Denton

History of Occupational Therapy Guide

HISTORY of Occupational Therapy

Assignment Help

HINTS for the OT History Assignment

Ideas for building your OT History assignment

Your Decade - What Was It Like?

Think about the following ideas concerning what might make your paper and your presentation more thorough and enjoyable:

  • Events  (disasters, wars, discoveries, etc.)
  • Technologies/Equipment (cars, prosthetics, tools, methods of communication, etc.) 
  • Arts  (artists, art works, books, etc.)
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Education  (OT as undergrad, OT as graduate, OT as doctoral, etc.)
  • Fashion
  • Important people (celebrities, sports heroes, scientists, etc.)
  • US Presidents & Texas Governors
  • US Laws or Policies and Regulations enacted that concern the practice of OT (ex. ADA)
  • Include: International > National > State > Local > TWU information


  • HINT 1: Not everything that is historical can be found on online. Online resources started showing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Today, organizations are digitizing resources going backward in time. For example, AJOTs are only digitized back to the 1980s. Anything published before 1980 will be probably be PRINT ONLY. TWU has all PRINT AJOTs in Remote Storage on the Garden Level. Ask at the Information Desk.
  • HINT 2: Depending on your assigned decade, your resources may be in PRINT ONLY. 
    Good News! TWU has an ILL Service that will digitize print resources for you for FREE.
  • HINT 3: Check the Resources Box below for suggested historical Journals, Books, and Articles. Dates are included.
  • HINT 4: When searching online or in databases, use your decade as a search term:
    Ex. 1950s OR Fifties OR 1950 OR 1951 OR 1952 OR 1953 as so on...
  • HINT 5: TWU Library in Denton has many OT PRINT journals in Remote Storage on the Garden Level.
    You can request whole volumes of OT journals (print issues) to be brought up to the Information Desk for you to look through.
    You'll find a Scanner on the 3rd floor to make electronic copies.
  • HINT 6: PRINT Journals will have interesting advertisements, editorials and letters to the editor that WILL NOT be found on the internet or in database searching. They will show OT items for sale at the time and what issues may have been controversial at the time.
  • HINT 7: TWU has student yearbooks that document life on the TWU Denton Campus over the decades.
    TWU Yearbooks are called the Daedalian and cover 1911-1985.
    TWU Yearbooks are located on the 3rd floor. Exit the elevator, turn left, go to the back wall on the far left at the end of the shelving.
    TWU OT early years are document in yearbooks (see faculty photos, OT student photos, the TWU OT building, etc.)
    Book scanner available on the 3rd floor near the computers.
  • HINT 8: Check the TWU Library Archive office for real historical OT resources from here at TWU from the beginnings of OT at TWU.
    LOCATION: Denton Library 2nd floor. Exit the elevator and turn right. Go through glass doors.
    Make appointments to arrange historical items to be brought to you from inside the VAULT (one of a kind items). Archive staff digitize.
    Phone: 940-898-3751

Odds and Ends:

  • Check for OT History via American Occupational Therapy Association website  (Check Centennial resources)
  • Check AJOT (American Journal of Occupational Therapy) Nov-Dec Issues each year for OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS.
    • these documents will cover changes to credentialing, curriculum, evolution of practice, etc.
  • If your decade precedes the Slagle Lectures, check AOTA Presidential Addresses; can also be titled "Nationally Speaking." 
  • Check multiple editions of Willard & Spackman Occupational Therapy textbooks over the years. Willard & Spackman textbooks are all located on the 3rd floor: RM735.W5. All editions are found in the same location.
  • When did OT organizations arise internationally? British OT, Canadian OT, Australian OT, and so on…

OT Historical Resources: Journals, Books, Articles and MORE...

       American Journal of Occupational Therapy logo 2023


and more OT Journals...

Below are articles as well as hints on how to find specific articles. Read carefully.

Use TWU's ILL service to get digital copies.

"The Depression Years: 1929-1941: Occupational Therapy - A Historical Perspective"
Rerek, MD
American Journal of Occupational Therapy
1971 Jul-Aug.  Volume 25, Issue 4, pages 231-233

[No author]
Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation
1940. Volume 19, Issue 1, pages 27-34

AOTA Official Documents
in American Journal of Occupational Therapy
-- published annually
-- Nov-Dec Issues

Eleanor Clark Slagle Lectures:
in American Journal of Occupational Therapy
--published annually
--June issue 

Presidential Address Series:  use  [ Subject ]  PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESSES + AOTA
Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation
     --published annually
     --usually found in Issue 6
     --through 1938
AJOT-American Journal of Occupational Therapy
     --re-titled, "Nationally Speaking: Presidential Address"
     --usually in the December issue

TWU Women's Collection logo

TWU Occupational Therapy Digital Archive

Scroll to find a multitude of one-of-a-kind objects spanning the history of OT here at TWU.

Find things such as:

  • the letter formally creating OT as a discipline here at TWU
  • documents from the first set of OT faculty
  • a photo of TWU's OT building
  • a photo of TWU students making toys by hand in 1948 and much much more...