OBJECTIVE. More is known about the experience of occupational therapists than the experience of patients during the profession’s early years. We examined soldiers’ experiences of occupational therapy in American Base Hospital 9 in France during World War I through analysis of a 53-line poem by Corporal Frank Wren contained in the unpublished memoir of occupational therapy reconstruction aide Lena Hitchcock.
METHOD. Historical documentary research methods and thematic analysis were used to analyze the poem, the memoir, and the hospital’s published history.
RESULTS. The poem describes the activities engaged in during occupational therapy, equipment used, and the context of therapy. It articulates positive dimensions of the experience of engaging in activities, including emotional benefits, diversion, and orthopedic benefits.
CONCLUSION. Previous historical research has identified core philosophical premises about the use of occupational therapy; in this article, the enactment of these principles is established through the analysis of a soldier’s account of receiving occupational therapy.