Dorothea Lynde Dix was quoted as saying, "In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do." Dix began at the age of 39, and spent the next 20 years as a social reformer for the treatment of the mentally ill. When asked to teach a Sunday School class at a women's correctional facility, Dix was appalled at the conditions, as well as the fact that many of the women weren't criminals, but were instead mentally ill. This is where her crusade began. Her work had immediate results throughout the country, and the changes are still being felt even today.
http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/dorotheadix.html. The website is an excellent source that chronicles Dix's early life. As a child she lived in a household with a mentally unstable mother and an alcoholic father. This site details her first career as a teacher, then her second career as a social reformer. The Webster site gives an abundance of specific detail about how Dix influenced people and how passionate she was about her beliefs. The last portion of the website biography laments the fact that Dix and her accomplishments are sadly under-reported in most history and psychology textbooks, but that this fact would sit very well with Dix herself, as she preferred to not be in the spotlight.
http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/mhddsas/DIX/. This website gives a much more detailed description of Dix and her early life, as well as the time she spent in Boston. The writing is more personal and gives more intimate details. The site, in it's entirety, is for the Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. The hospital history portion gives a stirring and highly detailed account of Dix visit to North Carolina and the events leading up to the state legislature's decision to give money for a state hospital. It is an informative, as well as entertaining, account. The site also contains many photographs of Dorothea Dix and the hospital. This site...
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