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While Jan. 15, 1921, is cited as the founding date of what would become the American Physical Therapy Association, official records of APTA's early days didn't emerge until almost two months later, by way of the first-ever issue of P.T. Review. The review would go through three name changes over the years, and is now known as Physical Therapy, or PTJ.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of APTA's founding, we're sharing a facsimile excerpt from Vol. 1, No. 1 of P.T. Review, wherein the world first learned about the association's birth. You can view a text transcription of the contents of this pdf below the reproduction.

Download P.T. Review, Volume 1, No. 1.

Read the full transcription below.

The "P. T. Review"

The "P. T. Review" makes its first appearance under many difficulties.

The work has been done entirely by volunteers. We trust that our readers will be lenient about any sins of omission and commission. As the editorial work is new to us we hope to improve as time goes on. This issue therefore is no criterion, as our aim is to make each copy an improvement over its predecessor.

This issue has been delayed in order that the members might be informed of the results of the election.

Our Aim

One of the main objects of our publication is to secure a medium through which physicians and aides can more easily get in touch.

Greetings to Re-Aides

February 26th, 1921.

It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to express my respect, admiration and affectionate regard I have always held for you, my dear Re-Aides.

Whether our paths meet again or not we shall have one bond in common: the having helped to lessen the number of disabled men in our army as the result of the Great War.

The work you did and the spirit in which you did it gave me a feeling of pride that I belonged to your organization. All the discouragement, the disappointments and the disillusionment of those first days of our history are compensated for by the courage and the undaunted spirit of those pioneer women Reconstruction Aides.

If I can ever be of service never hesitate to let me know and with my heartiest greetings to you, P.T.'s and O.T.'s every one, believe me, with many memories of our work together,

Sincerely yours,


The Value of Physio-Therapy as Proved by the War

The war demonstrated, in a manner that probably nothing else could, that even severe injury need not lead to serious disability, provided suitable treatment following the care of the wounds can be given. Good primary surgery and good nursing, of themselves, do not yield results which can be considered satisfactory.

Measures having to do with the early restoration of function in the damaged part are essential, and it is here that the Reconstruction Aide found her great opportunity. With the coming of the first group of Aides to France a new era opened for the hospitals of the A. E. F., and from the first week of their work their usefulness was so fully demonstrated that the chief problem presented was the finding of a sufficient number of these trained workers.

Not only were many men saved to useful lives, who would otherwise have been crippled, but the principle of physiotherapy and occupational therapy was so definitely established that civil hospitals must provide a staff of such workers, similar to those provided by the Army.

Such a publication as this will do much to preserve the standards and advance the science of the profession. It has the best wishes of all interested in Reconstruction Surgery.


February 26,1921.

Some Problems to Be Solved by the A. W. P. T. A.

One of the results of the World War was the universal recognition of the value of physiotherapy. In the United States, as well as. abroad, the lessons learned in the military game are being applied to industrial conditions. The success attained in the army was in a great measure due to the loyalty, the contagious enthusiasm, the professional ability and the whole souled devotion to duty, of you, the Reconstruction Aides in physiotherapy.

It is now necessary for you not only to maintain inviolate the high standard which you have initiated, but also by your influence and example to advance it to a still higher plane of usefulness and exactness. This you should be able to do through your new association.

It will require wise leadership, unbounded enthusiasm and the submersion of all selfish personal aims to accomplish this. It has. seemed to many of us who are proud to be associated with you that some of the problems you have to solve are:

  1. Eligibility as to future members, namely those who have not been identified with the work in the Army, Navy, or Public Health. For a society to live, there should be constant accession of new blood, and should be so little hampered by inflexible rules that, always bearing in mind the high ideals which actuate you, they may be enabled to admit those women whose personality, whose achievements in certain lines of this work are such that they would be an added source of strength to the association. This should include such trained nurses, who though not graduated from any school of physical education or physiotherapy, yet have received from other sources a special training along certain lines of physiotherapy treatment.
  2. The question of affiliation with some other organization, such as the American Society for Physical Education. This question should be considered from all angles. It would seem wise for your association to function as an independent body, at least at the start, and later to consider some amalgamation, provided that you retained your identity and that the standards that you are striving for are not lowered by such contract.
  3. The stressing of any particular branch of physiotherapy. It would seem wise for you to maintain the broad basis on which the work has been established and not allow invidious comparisons to be made concerning the component parts thereof.

These are a few of the problems, the solution of which will make or break your association.

Finally let me assure you that we who have been elected by you as honorary members of your organization will endeavor to render to you the whole-hearted support which you accorded us while in the military service of the United States.


American Women's Physical Therapeutic Association

The necessity for a National Physical Therapeutic Association has made itself manifest throughout the country. During our period of service rare friendships existed. The invigorating "pull together" feeling was so strong that those of us who are back again in civilian life feel the need of national association that will sustain these ties that should not be severed. Beyond this, standardization must be considered in order to attain the efficiency that rightfully belongs to our profession. This can only be done by united effort.

Previous to the war emergency, physical therapeutic measures were only scientifically recognized by a limited number of the medical profession and then rarely intelligently used but by the orthopedic surgeon.

The result of physiotherapy has no better exponent than the physically reconstructed soldier. There seems to be a feeling by many that the requirements for entrance into the National Association as stated in the circular drawn up by the Temporary Committee were too exacting. The matter has received much consideration and the decision is strongly in favor of assuming a high standard. Each person who received a notice of the Association is eligible as a charter member.

It is feared that oversights have occurred in mailing circulars, especially among the A. E. F. Aides. Every member is urged to help rectify any errors by sending information to the secretary.

The Forming of the American Women's Physical Therapeutic Association

This association was started in the early part of 1920 by a committee at the Walter Reed. At first, invitations were sent only to those who had left the service, consequently the association did not gain ground very fast as there were still many Aides left. In December of last year about 800 circular letters were sent to those both in and out of the service who it was thought would be interested and would want to join. The response was most enthusiastic and things moved with more speed.

Each girl who replied received a blank and was asked to nominate a president, two vice-presidents, a treasurer and two members for the executive committee. The secretary was to be appointed later by this committee. 120 forms were returned. From these the nomination committee compiled a ballot which was sent to approximately 200 girls, each paid-up  member of the association receiving a blank with the request that it be returned by March 24th. On that date the nomination committee will meet and count the votes.

Upon the declaration of the ballot our association will be properly launched and it will be up to us to see that it is kept not only floating but gathering more and more speed from our united efforts towards furthering its aims.

Officers and Executive Committee Elected for 1921  

The vote for officers and members at large of the executive committee for the ensuing year has resulted in the election of the following members: President, Miss Mary McMillan; Vice-Presidents, Miss Beulah Rader, Miss Emma Heilman; Treasurer, Miss Janet B. Merrill; Executive Committee, Miss Hazel Furchgott, Miss Marien Sweezey.

In accordance with the Constitution the secretary will be appointed by the executive committee as early as an expression of their choice can be obtained. During the interim the president has appointed Miss Janet B. Merrill, Children's Hospital, Boston, Mass., to whom all communications should be addressed. 

Preliminary Meeting of the A.W.P.T A.

On January 15th a meeting of the A. W. P. T. A. was held at Keen's Chop House, 36th St., New York City, to discuss the question of forming a national P. T. Association, with all the local branches under one constitution and with national officers.

The questions which were brought up:

  1. Qualifications for membership.
    1. Should only military P. T. aides be included or should those able to meet the requirements as to training and experience.
    2. Admission of Canadians and others who served during the war.
  2. Requirements for admission.
  3. Affiliation with the P. E. Society, a separate branch meeting at the same time.
  4. Change of name, omitting the word "women" so that men equally qualified may be admitted.
  5. The right to become members of the American Legion and to wear the service button.
  6. U. S. Army Reserve Corps of Aides as well as Nurses. A committee of six was appointed, with Miss Gertrude Healy as chairman, for the purpose of drawing up a constitution and by-laws, which will be considered by the Boston chapter at a general meeting later and then adopted.

The consensus of opinion was that the. society should consist of army and navy and ex-aides, also physicians and surgeons interested in P. T. as associate members.

Lt. Col. Frank B. Granger, Major McFee from Boston, Lt. Col. Corbusier from Plainfield, Major Ney, New York, Major Sampson of Fox Hills, and Commander Bainbridge from the Naval Hospital, as well as thirty aides, were present.

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