Dorothea Dix
By: Christian

  Throughout the nineteenth century Dorothea Dix may have been one of, if not the most famous woman of the century. Starting in the 1840’s she began a personal journey to provide the correct humane care for the mentally ill by raising money for specialized hospitals that would house them. She tried to do this because how poorly the mentally ill were treated. She realized how poorly they were treated one day after she had been teaching her Sunday school class to a group of prisoners in the Cambridge jail, after class she had made her way to the prisons basement, where she found all of the mentally ill patients. None of them had committed a crime yet they were imprisoned; in the basement they were linked to a wall, with very little clothing, and without any heat. After she researched the treatment of these inmates she found out that after they were released they went straight into poverty. This angered Dorothea to become a crusader for the mentally ill. In 1846 she had taken her crusage to Illinois. She presented two lengthy memorials to the legilature. First, was describing the terrible conditions of the state penitentiary; the second was discussing the sufferings of the mentally ill and urging the establishment of seperate hospitals for their care. After this she also wrote many newspaper articles to show the public how poor the living conditions were for the mentally ill.  

Long Term Effects

Now a days Dorothea has many modern hospitals and asylums named after her. She was filled with such determination, and tried her best to achieve equal opportunities and living quarters for all different types of people.

    “I come to present the strong claims of suffering humanity. I come to place before the Legislature of Massachusetts the condition of the miserable, the desolate, the outcast. I come as the advocate of helpless, forgotten, insane men and women; of beings sunk to a condition from which the unconcerned world would start with real horror.”

- Dorothea Dix 1844