Dorothea Dix

1082 Words3 Pages

Known as an American philanthropist and reformer, Dorothea Dix transformed living conditions in prisons and established institutions for the mentally insane in 20 states, as well as Canada (“DIX”). Through her crusade for fair treatment of the mentally insane, Dorothea Dix exemplifies the ideals of her time – to protect the rights of all human beings, no matter their age, race, or mental capacity.

On April 4, 1802 in Hampden, Maine, Dorothea Lynde Dix was born to Joseph and Mary Dix. Due to her mother's poor health, Dix assumed the household duties of tending to the house and caring for her two younger brothers from a very young age. Meanwhile, her father traveled as a preacher who sold religious books that Dix and her family stitched together. Her only escape from her responsibilities, were in the occasional visits she paid to her grandparents on her father's side, during which she became very close to her doting grandfather; therefore, his death in 1809 left her aching. Eventually, Dix became frustrated with her pressing responsibilities and home life, so she fled to her grandmother's home in Boston, where her grandmother attempted to instill proper manners and etiquette, however Dix did not take well to her instruction, so she was shipped off to her cousins in Worchester. Finally, surrounded by other children her age who possessed good manners, Dix developed the poise and skills that defined and followed her throughout the rest of her life (Morin).

After returning to her grandmother, Dix persuaded her to open a small school in the mansion. She threw herself into studying and teaching her students, but soon after she began, the strain on her body led to a concerning cough, so Dix retired to rest. With her free time,...

... middle of paper ...

...with and which needed protecting. Dix played a dominant role in protecting the rights of those who could not fight for themselves, and in doing so, she exemplifies the purpose of her era. The effort and dedication that Dorothea Dix put forth in advocating the rights of the mentally insane directly led to the improvement of their conditions, and earned her the right to be called a philanthropist and true reformer.

Works Cited

Davidson, James West. Experience History: Interpreting America's past. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.

"DIX, Dorothea Lynde." (n.d.): Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.

Morin, Isobel V. "1: Dorothea Dix Superintendent Of Army Nurses." Women Chosen For Public Office (1995): 10.MasterFILE Premier. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.

Stevenson, Keira. "Dorothea Dix." Dorothea Dix (2005): 1. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.

Open Document