Alittle about Dorthea "Dragon" Dix

Essay by HipocratesCollege, UndergraduateA+, August 2004

download word file, 1 pages 3.0

Dorthea Dix was born in 1802 and died in 1887. She was social reformer who helped to improve the conditions of prisons and mental illness for over twenty years. After the attack at Fort Sumter, Dorthea, who was 59 at the time, volunteered and was appointed ahead of the workingwomen nurses in June of 1861. Her services were extended without pay. She battled stereotypes and prejudices and convinced her peers that women could do the job exceptionally. She was called "Dragon Dix" for her strict and opposing ways. Dix imposed a dress code for the women during wartimes. She took 3,000 women nurses under her wing and remarkably improved army nursing. Dix also went to the liberties of obtaining medical supply through private sources when the government was not as hospitable. She returned to her efforts for the mentally ill after the war.

Her pressing ways made officials obligated to change the conditions in institutions.

She had a great influence in the changing of institutions and mental health over time, often at times she was not paid for her efforts. She proposed an idea for the first asylum for lunatics, it sparked a hot debate, while under fire, the officials finally gave in. The mentally ill and even criminals were quartered in the same area. They were often beaten and the insane would stay in the cellar of the building where Dix said it was not fit for even a dog. Legislatures said it would cost less to ship Dix over the state line, rather than making a much-needed mental health facility. The institution was finally made in Ewing Township, New Jersey.

Despite her refusal, there were hospitals, memorials, and even schools named after her. Unfortunately, she was only mentioned in five of total fifty-three psychology books to this...