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University of Virginia Hospital Occupational Therapy records

Identifier: MS-40

Scope and Contents

The collection includes newspaper clippings from "The Daily Progress" and the "Richmond Times-Dispatch" about the University of Virginia hospital as well as clippings from "The Draw Sheet" about the occupational therapy department and personnel. There are brief histories of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Occupational Therapy in Albemarle County, and Occupational Therapy at the University of Virginia. Yearly reports from the O.T. Department in the mid 1940s through the early 1950s are included.


  • Creation: 1942 - 1987

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

Occupational therapy at the University of Virginia had its beginnings when Dr. David C. Wilson, the first chairman of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, included occupational therapy as an integral part of the treatment of patients in his department.

In 1939 two psychiatric wards were opened for patients in the John Staige Davis wing. To supplement psychiatric care that had an emphasis on individual patient-doctor relations, other forms of therapy were added including group therapy, electro-therapy, hydro-therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and drug therapy. Occupational therapy was originally located in the basement of the Davis building. Lucinda Lally volunteered at the University of Virginia in the Occupational Therapy Department in 1943 with Polly Marshall who had no professional training. Ms. Lally went to the Philadelphia School of Occupational Therapy and graduated in 1945, but she did not immediately come back to UVa to work. By 1946 there were five staff members in the Occupational and Recreational Therapy Department; three in occupational therapy and two in recreational therapy. Miss Charlotte Yowell set up the original recreational therapy program. The first Registered Occupational Therapist joined the staff in 1946. Classes included handicrafts, calisthenics, and games with an average attendance of 15 per class, approximately half being out-patients. Evening programs included entertainment such as plays, music, square dances with live music on the Davis roof, and movies.

In 1951 the Occupational Therapy Department separated from the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry and was made a department of the hospital so that services could be extended throughout the hospital. Ms. Lally had worked briefly in the late 1940s and 1950s at UVa, but came back in 1968 to stay as the second occupational therapist in the department at the time. Elizabeth Volkan, a trained occupational therapist, was head of the Department which also had several aides. Elizabeth Volkan left in 1970 or so and Ms. Lally became the head of the Occupational Therapy Department. After moving from the Davis basement to the Barringer basement, in 1977 Occupational Therapy moved to the Towers with Psychiatry. Ms. Lally retired as head in 1989.

After 1986 there were five separate and distinct Occupational Therapy Departments throughout the hospitals: acute physical disabilities at the main hospital, rehab at the Towers, occupational therapy at the Children's Rehabilitation Center, physical disabilities occupational therapy at Blue Ridge Hospital, and the original occupational therapy for Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at Blue Ridge Hospital.

According to the UVa Occupational Therapy website today, "Occupational Therapists at UVa work with both adult and pediatric populations within the Health System in a variety of settings including inpatient adult, acute pediatrics and inpatient rehabilitation at the UVa Children's Hospital. Occupational Therapy services at UVa include the assessment, treatment, and education of/consultation with the individual, family, and other persons. Occupational Therapy interventions are directed towards developing, improving, or restoring daily living skills, and work, play, leisure or educational skills. Occupational Therapists also work with patients in providing for the development of restoration of sensorimotor, oral motor, perceptual, or neuromuscular functioning; range of motion; or cognitive or psychosocial components of performance."


.5 Linear Feet


The folders are arranged by date of the earliest article within each folder.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records were collected by Lucinda Lally and donated in 2009. Ms. Lally was head of the Occupational Therapy Department from ~1970 to 1989.

Physical Description

1 box, 5" x 10.5" x 15.5," 5" linear, 20 folders, 75 documents


Processed by:
Historical Collections Staff
A Guide to the University of Virginia Hospital Occupational Therapy Records, 1942-1987
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
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Repository Details

Part of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library Repository

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue
P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0722 United States