Florence Peterson Kendall

 (1910 - 2006)

Florence Peterson Kendall

Florence Kendall has dedicated nearly seventy years of her life to physical therapy.  She played a major role in drafting the original bill that was enacted into law in 1947, legally establishing the practice of physical therapy in Maryland.  She was the Secretary to the Maryland State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners from 1969-70, a member of that Board from 1971-74, and she has served as a consultant to the Board from 1974-97.

Florence Kendall and her husband, Henry, have spent many years treating the victims of polio at Children's Hospital and treating patients in their private therapy practice.  Mrs. Kendall's work has set the standard for musculoskeletal evaluation and treatment.  She has advanced the physical therapy profession by working to establish physical therapy as a profession in Maryland.  Serving on the Maryland State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners as the Secretary, member, and consultant, she has protected the citizens of Maryland.  Ms. Kendall taught at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Physical Therapy Department and was a Biomechanics instructor at the School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins Hospital.  She has written numerous books and journal articles, and produced educational films.  She continues to be a nationally acclaimed lecturer on physical therapy.

Her book, Muscle Testing and Function, originally published in 1949, is now in its fourth edition, and has been translated into eight foreign languages.  A fiftieth anniversary edition was published in 1999. This document is the "gold standard" for musculoskeletal assessment.  In addition, she has produced "Florence Kendall's Muscle Testing Video Library," a five part series evaluating the function and strength of muscles in the human body. 

Mrs. Kendall is a founding member of the American Physical Therapy Association of Maryland and served as its President from 1939-41 and 1957-59.  She has been active in the APTA at the State and federal levels and has tirelessly provided years of service to the physical therapy profession.  She has served as a consultant to the Surgeon General, United States Army. 

Florence Kendall continues to be one of this country's foremost physical therapists.  Her work as a clinician, research, and lecturer has earned her many awards and honorary degrees.  In December 2000, the "Henry O. and Florence P. Kendall Conference Room" was dedicated at the University of Maryland, School of Physical Therapy.  The "Kendall Historical Collection" of books at the University of Maryland Health and Human Services Library was dedicated in April 2000.

Florence Kendall is a role model for all physical therapists, but especially to women.  She clearly demonstrates that a woman can be a good wife and mother, and at the same time be a leader in her chosen profession.  She generously shares her expertise within the health care community.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2002.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2002