Indian Occupations Captured : A Tribute to Dr.William Rush Dunton.

by let's OT

‘ How successful this attempt has been? That is a question which time alone can answer’  

a question filled with a certain uncertainty is raised by Dr William Rush Dunton Jr. while concluding the efforts he had put behind in compiling his book “Occupational Therapy for the Nurses”

In last few months I have developed a keen interest in reading and appraising the history of the development of the profession. During my  search for literature related to the early philosophies of the profession, I came across the books written by Dr.Dunton

Dr.Dunton also known as ‘The Father of Occupational Therapy’ was one of the founders and the president of the National society for the Promotion of Occupational therapy.

Dr.Dunton’s book ‘Prescribing Occupational Therapy’ first published in 1928, was the only general textbook on the subject used. ( I had the privilege of reading from the original copy of this archival book which is preserved in the Library of the O.TSchool & Centre, Seth.G.S.Medical college).Prior to writing this book Dr.Dunton wrote ‘Occupational Therapy’ (1915) and‘Recounstruction Therapy’(1919).

These books have chapters dedicated to various occupations and their therapeutic applications. As I was reading each occupation I related them to various pictures that I have clicked since last two years.

Thus I thought of writing this blog and dedicating the pictures to excerpts from the book on some of the occupations mentioned in the book.


 Beadwork is not especially cheap, but may be very durable and beautiful. An occupation requiring patience and perseverance bead work has few rivals.

                                                      Nature Study 

Even in city streets there are sparrows, a few trees and window boxes and practically all cities have parks.  Under such circumstances a game might be played and nurse and patient match with to see who can observe the greatest number of certain kinds of object.

Wood work

Nearly a century ago Utica state hospital had a whittling shop where toys and other work of wood were made by patients.


The word collecting may bring up difficult emotions in different individuals according as to what their conception of the word may be.


‘you push the button and we do the rest’. Photography is made so simple for us nowdays.

Still life of various sorts or posed pictures illustrated some story or poem might have a commercial value, besides being intresting to the person taking them.


 There are so many good books that; a choice does not seems difficult, but when actually confronted with the necessity of picking out a volume which will amuse or divert and yet not contain anything which will bring up an unpleasant association , the task becomes difficult.


 Probably no form of entertainment is more enjoyed by hospital patients than the ‘homegrown’ play in which the patients sees some favorite nurse perform in a costume or with properties that patient has perhaps in making.

Drawing and Painting

 The art is one which is not lightly to be pursued as patience and perseverance are required to master the pen and brush.


Music should be made a part of the patients daily program for many reasons.

The books have been written in the early nineteenth century but the philosophy of Occupational Therapy will remain the same always….