Retired Army Col. Emma E. Vogel, 91, a physical therapist who was head of the old Women's Medical Specialist Corps from 1947 to 1951, died Aug. 8 in a hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. She had arteriosclerotic heart disease.

Col. Vogel joined the Army in 1919, and three years later helped organize and was named supervisor of the Army's first training course for physical therapy aides in this country.

She told a newspaper reporter in 1943 that "the comparatively new science of physical therapy did not win general recognition until World War I, when the results it achieved in the aftercare of war injuries became widely known."

During World War II, she was director of physical therapy aides in the Army Medical Department. She also toured Army hospitals to inspect physical therapy programs in use.

She earned the Legion of Merit for her service to the Medical Department and for her work in coordinating Army efforts with those of civilian organizations such as the American Physiotherapy Association and Council of Medical Education of the American Medical Association.

In 1947, she was named head of the newly formed Women's Medical Specialist Corps, putting her in charge of what had been three separate divisions of the Medical Department. These divisions were dietetics, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. She remained the Corps' commander until retiring from active duty in November 1951. Three years later, the Women's Medical Specialist Corps became the Army Medical Specialist Corps.

Col. Vogel was a native of Mankato, Minn., and a graduate of Mankato State Teachers College. She received physical therapy training at Reed College in Oregon, then was a civilian physical therapist in an Army hospital in Pennsylvania during World War I. She enlisted in the Army in 1919.

She made her home in Florida after retiring from the Army, and was a resident of St. Petersburg at the time of her death. She was an honorary member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Survivors include three sisters, Dorothea Aiken of Coupeville, Wash., Carolyn Abbott of Baker, Mont., and Martha McLaughlin of North Mankato, Minn.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Army Medical Department's Museum Foundation, P.O. Box 8294, Wainwright Station, San Antonio, Tex., 78208.