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Wanda Edgerton papers

Identifier: IWA0603

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Scope and Contents

The Wanda Misbach Edgerton papers date from 1938 to 1993 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical information, Municipal Psychiatric Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, and Occupational Therapy as a profession.

The Biographical Information series (1939-1993) consists of Wanda Misbach Edgerton's resume, newspaper clippings, and an autobiographical book illustrating the life of a farm family in Iowa.

The Municipal Psychiatric Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela series (1940-1943) is comprised of newspaper clippings, papers, photographs of hospital wards and industrial therapy projects, and a series of letters dated 1940-1942 written by Edgerton about her work as the "Occupational Therapy Girl in the Wilderness."

Edgerton's involvement in the field of Occupational Therapy is documented in the Occupational Therapy as a Profession series (1935-1949). Included are newspaper clippings, published pamphlets and articles, Edgerton's personal and published papers and correspondence with publishers.


  • Creation: 1938-1993


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Educator, therapist, speaker, author, Wanda Misbach Edgerton was born in Williamsburg, Iowa, 1905 to Jesse Davis and Emelia Sophie Misbach. Edgerton graduated from Coe College in 1929, and received her professional training at the Boston School of Occupational Therapy.

After graduating in 1938 she worked as an occupational therapist in Massachussetts and in Caracas, Venezuela. Edgerton's position in Venezuela was part of a United States teaching and demonstration team of psychiatric nurses employed by the Venezuelan government to assist in reforming and modernizing the Caracas Hospital Municipal Psychiatrico. During her two year stay in Venezuela, Edgerton organized and directed an industrial therapy program.

In 1942 Edgerton returned to the United States where she applied for a newly created job as the chairman of the Occupational Therapy Department at Ohio State University. Once hired Edgerton organized a student training curriculum, which consisted of establishing a curriculum, policy and admission standards, as well as recruiting future students. In addition to her administrative and teaching obligations, Edgerton gave speeches and published articles on the status of the evolving field of occupational therapy.

During the formative stage of the Occupational Therapy Department, Edgerton sought assistance from the Psychology Department's vocational counselor, Harold Asahel Edgerton. After a courtship, the Misbach-Edgerton wedding took place in Columbus, Ohio on the 27 th of July 1945. Harold Edgerton worked at the Ohio State University's Department of Psychology as an associate professor and Director of Occupational Opportunities Services.


5.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



Occupational therapist who worked in Venezuela, 1940-1942, and at Ohio State University.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 708) were donated by Wanda Misbach Edgerton in 2000.

Related Materials

Dorothy Misbach papers (IWA): Misbach was Wanda Misbach Edgerton's sister.

Jun-Nicole Matsushita 2006.
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Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)