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Dorothea Dix

Social Reformer for the mentally ill in the 1800s.

Mark Engstrom

on 22 January 2013

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Transcript of Dorothea Dix

1802-1887 The Life of Dorothea Dix Family Father: Joseph - abusive alcoholic; Methodist.
Mother: Mary - depressed and mentally unstable She ran away from her home at age 12,
and went to live with her Grandmother in Boston. Asked by Reverend William Ellery Channing to Sunday School lesson to prisoners in East Cambridge House of Correction In 1841, at age 14, she started her own elementary school in her Grandmother's home. In 1831, she opened secondary school in her own home. In 1836, Dix traveled to the home of William Rathbone in England as her health worsened. Beginning in 1842, Dorothea toured Massachusetts, inspecting conditions of the insane in almshouses and jails. Dix was deeply disturbed by what she saw at the prison. She began releasing memorials to various state legislatures and continued to inspect prisons and hospitals worldwide. In 1861, Dix Volunteered services to the War Department and was appointed Superintendent of Army nurses. In 1887, Dorothea passed away in her apartment in Trenton. "Society, during the last hundred years, has been alternately perplexed and encouraged, respecting the two great questions --how shall the criminal and pauper be disposed of, in order to reduce crime and reform the criminal on the one hand, and, on the other, to diminish pauperism and restore the pauper to useful citizenship?" "While we diminish the stimulant of fear, we must increase to prisoners the incitements of hope: in proportion as we extinguish the terrors of the law, we should awaken and strengthen the control of the conscience" Born on April 14, 1802 in Maine “I must ask you to go forth… examine with patient care the condition of this suffering, dependent multitude, which are gathered to your alms-houses and your prisons…weigh the iron chains, and shackles, and balls, and ring-bolts, and bars, and manacles; breathe the foul atmosphere of those cells and dens, which too slowly poisons the springs of life; examine the furniture of these dreary abodes; some for a bed have the luxury of a truss of straw; and some have the cheaper couch, which the hard, rough plank supplies!... There are worse realities yet to be revealed under your vigilant investigations.” Dix Context
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