Dorothea Dix

Timeline created by edickers3
In History
  • Birth

    Dorothea Dix was born on April 4, 1802, in Hampden, Maine. She was the first child of Joseph Dix and Mary Bigelow Dix, out of three children. She was born into a poor family, living in a small cottage.
  • Dorothea Moves in with Grandparents

    Dorothea Moves in with Grandparents
    When Dorothea was 12 years old, she moved into the Dix Mansion, in Boston, owned by her grandmother Madame Dix. Dorothea and her two younger brothers, Joseph and Charles, moved in after her parents could not physically take care of them. Her father, Joseph, was an abusive alcoholic and her mother, Mary Bigelow, suffered from depression and mental health problems. Her grandmother sent her to her aunt's home, this was to help her become more "ladylike" since she was now living in a rich community
  • Dorothea Meets Edward Bangs

    Dorothea Meets Edward Bangs
    In 1814, Dorothea met her cousin while staying with her aunt. During this time, she fell in love with her cousin, who was thirteen years older than her. When she turned eighteen, in 1820, Edward proposed, she accepted but never decided an official wedding date. She was indecisive due to her thoughts of not wanting to be like her parents. To her marriage meant depression and fighting. When her father died, she returned the ring back and focused on teaching.
  • Dorothea Opens First Dame School

    Dorothea Opens First Dame School
    In 1816, Dorothea opened up a little dame school for girls. A dame school is like a private elementary school, mainly taught by a woman in her own home. At this certain time, little girls were not allowed to go to school, only little boys were, this is why the woman had to teach them in private. Edward helped Dorothea find a location to teach and opened a small and private shop so she could follow her dreams to teach young girls.
  • Dorothea Opens Second School

    Dorothea Opens Second School
    After declining Edwards proposal, in 1819, Dorothea went to her grandmother, Madame Dix, and asked to use the Dix Mansion as a little dame school to teach girls. She also opened a charity school, for unwealthy children that needed an education. She managed to follow her passion of teaching for many years until she fell ill. In those years, she began writing many texts to help inspire her students and herself.
  • Dorothea Became Ill with Tuberculosis

    Dorothea Became Ill with Tuberculosis
    In 1827, Dorothea Dix continually had to take breaks from her career of teaching, this was due to her health problems. Soon later, Dorothea was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that affects the lungs, after suffering from this disease for about ten years her lung eventually collapsed. In 1837, she tried to regain her strength, so she sailed to England and stayed there for a total of eighteen months.
  • Dorothea Explores Jail

    Dorothea Explores Jail
    In 1837, Dorothea was in England when she heard about the death of her grandmother, in which she returned back to Boston. As she was regaining her strength she was invited to the East Cambridge Jail to teach Sunday School to some of the woman inmates. After she finished her teachings, she toured the jail, in which, she saw where the "mentally insane" were kept. She was horrified, many of the people were chained to walls and kept in cages.
  • Dorothea Confronts the Government

    Dorothea Confronts the Government
    In 1841, she visited over 500 different towns, looking at many prisons and poorhouses, collecting data about how the "insane" were kept. In most cases, the prisoners were naked, beaten and in horrible living conditions. She went to the Congress to set give the "mentally crazy" support and helpful services. Congress provided 5 million acres, 100,000 acres per state, this was so they could build state mental hostpitals, or state insnae asylyms.
  • Dorothea Travels to Europe

    Dorothea Travels to Europe
    In 1854, both houses in the Congress passed the legislation, to donate 12,225,000 acres of federal land to the "mentally ill" and the remainder to the deaf, blind and "dumb"/ mentally disabled. When it reached the current president, Franklin Pierce, he vetoed the legislation. Although Pierce vetoed the legislation, Congress provided funds for the Saint Elizabeth Hospital. After this disappointing news, Dix traveled to England and Europe, where she proposed the plan again to others.
  • Dorothea and the Civil War

    Dorothea and the Civil War
    In 1861, Dorothea, at the age of 59, volunteered to help in the Civil War. About a week after she arrived she was appointed to the superintendent of nurses, she trained and organized the female nurses. As the head of the nursing department, her job was to care and support the wounded. Dix often clashed courses with other army officials and her own nurses were scared of her, so after 2 years, she was sent home. Although she was sent home, her determination made her very concentrated on her job.
  • Later in Dorothea's Life

    Later in Dorothea's Life
    In 1867, Dorothea returned to helping the "mentally ill", once the war was over, traveling across the country and even bck to Europe. She continued until her own illnesses forced her to stop. In 1881, at the age of 79, she took up residence in the New Jersy State Hospital, in Trenton. While she stayed there, she continued to write letters and other texts to support her beliefs in the "mentally ill".
  • Death

    Dorothea Dix died July 17, 1887, in Trenton, New Jersey. She died from a disease she contracted 17 years earlier, called malaria.