Willard and Spackman's Enduring Legacy for Future Occupational Therapy Pathways

Wanda J. Mahoney, Christine O. Peters, Peggy M. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Helen Willard (1894-1980) and Clare Spackman (1909-1992) paved the way for modern and future occupational therapy. This article validates the need for historical research in occupational therapy and presents a historical study on how the personal and professional collaboration of Willard and Spackman influenced occupational therapy. Data were gathered from archival documents, private papers, and 10 oral histories with colleagues, students, family, and friends. We used text analysis with triangulation to develop themes to reconstruct a proximity of the historical story. Two major themes that describe Willard's and Spackman's influence on occupational therapy are (1) Enduring Legacies and (2) Sacred Solitude and Chosen Gatherings. Subthemes within Enduring Legacies include Guiding Practice, Leaders in Service, and Educational Leadership. These women strongly influenced practitioners worldwide while maintaining the sacredness of their private lives. Their example can serve as a model for current and future occupational therapy practitioners and leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7101100020p1-7101100020p7
JournalThe American journal of occupational therapy : official publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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