Dorothea Dix was no exception to this rule, as she personally engaged Another woman, Elizabeth Blackwell, did not begin her career intending to become an to organize the Woman's Central Association of Relief (WCAR) to coordinate. 'A "voice for the mad" Dorothea Dix did more than anyone else of her generation to improve the lives of contemporaries Florence Nightingale ( – ) and Elizabeth Fry ( – ) who changing relations between people with mental illness and others in society. In his .. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd. Johnson. Both came from Nonconformist backgrounds with strong links to was to chair a committee that selected nurses to work under Dorothea Dix.
She read all of the available literature on mental illness and treatment facilities. She interviewed physicians about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. She acquainted herself with the work of reformers Philipe Pinel, Dr. Benjamin Rush and William Tuke. Her knowledge of mental disorders soon compared favorably with that of leading hospital superintendents of her day.
She began by visiting jails and almshouses all over Massachusetts, conducting one of the earliest social research projects in the United States. This was at a time when women seldom traveled alone or attempted to influence legislation, funding or the regulation of public institutions. As she visited with jailers, caretakers and townspeople she made careful and extensive notes.
She was particularly distressed to learn that it was common practice to house the mentally ill in jails with felons, regardless of their age or gender. She discovered that in most cases, towns contracted with local individuals to care for people with mental disorders. Unregulated and underfunded, this system produced widespread abuse.
After her survey was complete, Dorothea Dix published the results in a fiery memorial to be presented to the state legislature in Because women were neither seen nor heard at the State House, she enlisted her friend and fellow reformer Samuel Gridley Howe to present her findings to the legislature, part of which stated: 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.
Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience! Because her convictions were so powerful, the presentation of her findings completely won over the legislature. After a heated debate over the topic, Dix won legislative support and funds were set aside for the expansion of Worcester State Mental Hospital.
Dix then traveled from New Hampshire to Louisiana, documenting the conditions of the poor and mentally ill, publishing memorials to state legislatures, and devoting enormous personal energy to working with committees to draft the legislation and appropriations bills needed to build asylums. Although her health was poor, she managed to cover every state on the east side of the Mississippi River. Dix played a major role in the founding of 32 mental hospitals, 15 schools for the feeble minded, a school for the blind, and numerous training facilities for nurses.
She was also instrumental in establishing libraries in prisons, mental hospitals and other institutions. InDix traveled to Illinois to study its treatment of the mentally ill. Dix visited North Carolina in and called for reform in the care of mentally ill patients. Inwhen the North Carolina State Medical Society was formed, the construction of an institution in the capital of Raleigh for the care of the mentally ill was authorized.
Dorothea Dix - Wikipedia
By the late s she was formulating an ambitious plan to assure proper facilities for the insane poor in the long term. The culmination of this work was the Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane, legislation to set aside 12, acres of Federal land — 10, acres for the benefit of the insane and the remainder for the blind, deaf and dumb.
From she lobbied for her plan and secured passage from both the Senate and the House of Representatives. President Franklin Pierce vetoed the Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane, arguing that social welfare was the responsibility of the states. Stung by the defeat of her bill, in Dix traveled to Europe to rest from her thirteen years of work for the mentally ill. Between and she made effective changes in the way Europeans dealt with the mentally ill.
Unfortunately, the qualities that made her a successful crusader — independence and single-minded zeal — did not lend themselves to managing a large organization of female nurses. Dix set guidelines for nurse candidates. Volunteers had to be between the ages of 35 and 50 and had to be plain-looking. They also had to wear unhooped black or brown dresses and were forbidden to wear jewelry or cosmetics. Her purpose was to avoid sending vulnerable, attractive young women into the hospitals, where she feared they would be exploited by the men there doctors as well as patients.
Dix often fired volunteer nurses she had not personally trained or hired earning the ire of supporting groups like the United States Sanitary Commission. At odds with Army doctors, Dix feuded with them over control of medical facilities and the hiring and firing of nurses. Many doctors and surgeons did not want female nurses in their hospitals. To solve the impasse, the War Department introduced Order No. Barnes and the Superintendent of Army Nurses Dix the power to appoint female nurses.
However, it also gave doctors the power of assigning employees and volunteers to hospitals. This relieved Dix of any real responsibility and made her a figurehead. Meanwhile, her fame and influence were being eclipsed by other prominent women like Dr. Mary Edwards Walker and Clara Barton.
However, her even-handed care of Union and Confederate wounded alike assured her memory in the South. Her nurses often provided the only care available in the field to Confederate wounded. Every evening and morning they were dressed. I could not pass them by neglected. Though enemies, they were nevertheless helpless, suffering human beings. Hospitals built earlier were now overcrowded, understaffed and in disrepair, well on the way to becoming as poor as the jails and almshouses they had replaced.
Depressed by deteriorating accommodations and programs for the insane, Dix finally retired in at age There the state legislature designated a suite for her private use as long as she lived. Since her health was failing she admitted herself into this hospital. Although an invalid, she managed to correspond with people from England to Japan. In her work, Dorothea Dix was inconspicuous to say the least.
While she was there she met British social reformers who inspired her. These reformers included Elizabeth FrySamuel Tuke and William Rathbone with whom she lived during the duration of her trip in Europe. They invited her as a guest to Greenbank, their ancestral mansion in Liverpool. The Rathbones were Quakers and prominent social reformers. At Greenbank, Dix met their circle of men and women who believed that government should play a direct, active role in social welfare.
She was also introduced to the reform movement for care of the mentally ill in Great Britainknown as lunacy reform. Its members were making deep investigations of madhouses and asylums, publishing their studies in reports to the House of Commons. After returning to America, in Dix conducted a statewide investigation of care for the mentally ill poor in Massachusetts. Unregulated and underfunded, this system resulted in widespread abuse. Dix published the results in a fiery report, a Memorial, to the state legislature.
Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience. She prepared a memorial for the New Jersey Legislaturegiving a detailed account of her observations and facts. Dix urgently appealed to the legislature to act and appropriate funds to construct a facility for the care and treatment of the mentally ill.
She cited a number of cases to emphasize the importance of the state taking responsibility for this class of unfortunates. Dix's plea was to provide moral treatment for the mentally ill, which consisted of three values: Dix discovered him lying on a small bed in a basement room of the county almshouse, berefet of even necessary comforts. Dodd introduced her report to the Senate on January 23, The first committee made their report February 25, appealing to the New Jersey legislature to act at once.
Some politicians secretly opposed it due to taxes needed to support it. Dix continued to lobby for a facility, writing letters and editorials to build support. During the session, she met with legislators and held group meetings in the evening at home.
The act of authorization was taken up March 14,and read for the last time. On March 25,the bill was passed for the establishment of a state facility. InDix traveled to Illinois to study mental illness. While there, she fell ill and spent the winter in Springfield recovering. She submitted a report to the January legislative session, which adopted legislation to establish Illinois' first state mental hospital.
Her first attempt to bring reform to North Carolina was denied. However, after a board member's wife requested, as a dying wish, that Dix's plea be reconsidered, the bill for reform was approved. Dix Hill Asylum, named in honor of Dorothea Dix's father, was eventually opened in Dix had a biased view that mental illness was related to conditions of educated whitesnot minorities Dix, Inshe established its library and reading room.
Proceeds from its sale would be distributed to the states to build and maintain asylums. Dix's land bill passed both houses of the United States Congress ; but inPresident Franklin Pierce vetoed it, arguing that social welfare was the responsibility of the states.
Stung by the defeat of her land bill, in and Dix traveled to England and Europe. She reconnected with the Rathbone family and, encouraged by British politicians who wished to increase Whitehall's reach into Scotland, conducted investigations of Scotland 's madhouses.
This work resulted in the formation of the Scottish Lunacy Commission to oversee reforms. During her visit, she traveled to Sable Island to investigate reports of mentally ill patients being abandoned there.
Such reports were largely unfounded.History Day - Elizabeth Blackwell
While on Sable Island, Dix assisted in a shipwreck rescue.