Abstract

Using published works, archival correspondence, interviews with contemporaries, and historical commentary, an imagined conversation is presented between Eleanor Clarke Slagle (1871–1942) and three of her actual contemporaries. As a founder of the National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy (later to become the American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA]) and a past-president and executive secretary of AOTA for 21 years, Slagle came in contact with a host of therapists as well as men and women who influenced her and the occupational therapy profession, most particularly Julia Lathrop, Adolf Meyer, William Rush Dunton, Jr., and Ida Sands. Emphasis is placed on some of her early life experiences; Hull House; and the evolution of the occupational therapy belief system, including occupations, curative work, and spiritual rehabilitation (i.e., self-respect, interests, ambition, happiness, economic usefulness, success). Special attention was taken to reflect Slagle’s typical use of language and the vernacular of the mid-1930s. Extensive study was undertaken, through reading Slagle’s published works, to remain true to her use of language.

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