This first part of a two-part article examines how occupational therapy was represented in the media during the formative years of the profession, 1917–1925. Through an examination of 44 articles published in The New York Times during these years, three common themes emerged: restoration of persons with disabilities to social usefulness, the many facets of occupational therapy, and achieving public recognition of occupational therapy. This analysis indicates that the media portrayed occupational therapy as a small but important profession primarily concerned with restoring patients to economic and social usefulness. This favorable portrayal was in keeping with the values of the times and may have contributed to promoting public acceptance of the profession.

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