Dorothea Dix

By India Wright

Dorothea's contributions changed how society as a whole views those with mental illnesses and/or disabilities.

"Man is not made better by being degraded; he is seldom restrained from crime by harsh measures, except the principle of fear predominates in his character; and then he is never made radically better for its influence."
Big image

Early life

Dorothea Dix was born on April 4, 1802, in Hampden, Maine, but grew up in Massachusetts. Her parents were Joseph and Mary DIx. She was an only child until her two brothers were born in the year of 1815. That was also the year that she ran away from home at the age of thirteen due to familial issues.

Life before the reform

Dorothea felt the need to help people from very early on in her life. In 1816 at the age of fifteen, she ran a school of twenty students from ages six to eight. She continued this for three more years until, at the age of eighteen, she returned to her grandmothers home in the hopes of starting a new school for both underprivileged and wealthy girls. It wasn't until 1822 that she actually achieved this dream and from then to 1836, she taught two classes and wrote children's books. She eventually quit in order to care for her ailing grandmother, but would later return to the field of education once more.

WHY

In 1849, Dorothea decided to volunteer to teach Sunday school to female inmates. When she arrived, she was horrified by the terrible conditions in which the inmates were forced to live. When she asked why the jail was in such a state of disrepair, she recieved the response of, "The insane do not feel heat or cold." Unsatisfied and unconvinced, she took the issue to court and after a series of battles, finally won the case. It was then that Dorothea decided this was to be her life's work.

Influences

Dorothea's greatest influence was religion, or, more specifically, the Unitarian Church. Her strong sense of justice and her empathy for others also played a large part in why she chose to stand for those that could not stand for themselves. Dorothea is often attributed to the quote, "In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do." and I believe that it perfectly shows how she felt while defending the rights of the mentally ill.
Big image

Impact

Dorothea's contributions to the improvement of care of the mentally ill has changed how society as a whole views those with mental illnesses and/or disabilities. Thanks to her, those persons are no longer feared or alienated and they receive the treatment that they need.

Contributions

Dorothea led a crusade through the U.S. for the benefit not only the mentally ill, but all persons who received poor treatment due to social stigmas. She played a major role in founding 32 mental hospitals, 15 schools for the feeble minded, a school for the blind, and numerous training facilities for nurses- all this accomplished just in the U.S. Eventually, she traveled to Europe where she continued her inspection of mental institutions. Throughout her campaign, she traveled to England, Scotland, France, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Germany, improving conditions as she went. By the time she died in 1887, at the age of 85, Dorothea had truly changed the world.
Big image

Sources

Herstek, Amy Paulson. Dorothea Dix: Crusader for the Mentally Ill. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2001. Print.

"Dix, Dorothea Lynde." N.p., n.d. Web.

Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Dorothea Dix Quotes." Womenshistory.about.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/dorothea_dix.htm>.

"Dorothea Dix." Dorothea Dix. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <http://www2.webster.edu/~woolflm/dorotheadix.html>.

"DOROTHEA DIX - HISTORY AND HERITAGE TRAVEL IN WEST VIRGINIA | TRANS-ALLEGHENY LUNATIC ASYLUM." DOROTHEA DIX - HISTORY AND HERITAGE TRAVEL IN WEST VIRGINIA | TRANS-ALLEGHENY LUNATIC ASYLUM. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com/main/history4.html>.