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St. Louis School of Occupational and Recreational Therapy

St. Louis School of Occupational and Recreational TherapyFaculty members and the benefactor of the St. Louis School for Occupational and Recreational Therapy, 1935. From left to right: Florence E. Wood, Geraldine Lermit, Rachel Stix Michael, Dorothy Lee Flint, and Ada Wells Ford. Florence E. Wood, a graduate of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, taught Crafts and Design. The School’s director, Geraldine R. Lermit, received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley and her master’s degree from the University of Chicago. She received occupational therapy training from the American Red Cross and was a 1918 graduate of the Henry Favill School of Occupations. Rachel Stix Michael was the president of the Board of Trustees of the Missouri Association for Occupational Therapy, which oversaw the School. Mrs. Michael was the primary force behind the founding of both the Association and the School. Dorothy Lee Flint, an alumna of the School, taught courses in Library Science. Ada Wells Ford, a graduate of the Pratt Institute, joined the faculty in 1924. She taught courses in Design and Crafts until her retirement in 1966.

"In 1934, in order to meet growing demands in the professional field and because increased opportunities were available through the cooperation of Washington University, courses in recreation and group work were included in the curricular requirements. The name of the school was changed to the St. Louis School of Occupational and Recreational Therapy. Two degree programs were offered – a three-year course leading to a diploma in Occupational Therapy and a four-year course leading to the degree of bachelor of science in Education granted by Washington University. The diploma in Occupational Therapy granted by the St. Louis School of Occupational and Recreational Therapy was awarded upon completion of both the three- and four-year programs. At the time, nine months of practice work in occupational therapy was required in addition to the academic courses.

In 1936 Rachel Stix Michael died and bequeathed over $200,000 to Washington University, of which $150,000 was to be used to establish a professorship of Occupational Therapy in the Washington University School of Medicine. In 1938 a chair in Occupational Therapy was established and the director of the St. Louis School for Occupational and Recreational Therapy was appointed to it. Each successive director of the school has been appointed to the Elias Michael Professorship, named in honor of Rachel Stix Michael’s husband who died in 1913.

In 1945 the administration of the St. Louis School for Occupational and Recreational Therapy was assumed by Washington University. In February 1946 the school was established as the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Division of Auxiliary Medical Services of the Washington University School of Medicine. The three-year diploma course was discontinued after the school was established within the School of Medicine.”


Permission has been granted for the image above from the Visual Collections of the Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine



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