Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802 to 1887) refers to an American social reformer who had caused several states (and foreign countries) to reform their facilities for treating mental illness by making them more available to those needing them and more humane in their treatment .

An early nursing pioneer, Dorothea Lynde Dix was a noted humanitarian, reformer, educator and crusader. She is perhaps best known for her patient advocacy in fighting to improve the conditions of jails and mental asylums in North America and Europe. She is likewise characterized as an early US nursing pioneer--predecessor and contemporary of Florence Nightingale; a strong advocate for the mentally ill and for prisoners; a Civil War Superintendent of Union Army Nurses. After the war, Dix dedicated the rest of her life to improving the lives of the mentally ill, before retiring at the age of 82. Her 41 years of empathy for the mentally ill can be summarized in her own words: "If I am cold, they are cold; if I am weary, they are distressed; if I am alone, they are abandoned." Dorothea Lynde Dix died in 1887 at the age of 85 and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Related Articles