Dorothea Dix- Biography

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Dorothea Dix- Biography

Dorothea Dix was a woman who contributed much to the advancement of the women's rights movement. She is credited to such achievements as helping to reform prisons, hospitals for insane people, and was also the head of the women nurses during the civil war.

Dorothea Lynde Dix was born on April 4, 1802 in Hampden, Maine. She grew up in a "non existent" family which was full of fighting and abuse. This was because her father was an alcoholic and her mother was partially mentally disabled. She even took the role of caring for her two younger brothers when they were born. At age twelve, it was deemed that her parents could not take care of the children and so Dorothea's grandmother took them in to live at the Dix Mansion in Boston.

Dix traveled thousands of miles from state to state - by train, coach, carriage, and riverboat - always systematically gathering facts that she could use to try to convince those in authority of the need of improvement in the care of the mentally ill.

After seeing for herself, she would present a "memorial" to the state legislature with her concerns in which she described conditions as she found them. Dorothea would enter an urgent plea for the establishment of state-supported institutions. She would actively fight for passage of the bill, looking for sponsors and trying to win over the often-large numbers of people who opposed such legislation. The first state hospital built as a result of her efforts was located at Trenton, New Jersey.

In June of 1861, Dorothea was appointed Superintendent of Women Nurses. It was a nurses union during the Civil War. She was a woman who had a strict view on clothing, and extended it to the nurses. In a...