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MS Am 1838

Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887. Dorothea Lynde Dix papers, 1798-1893: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Am 1838
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887.
Title: Dorothea Lynde Dix papers,
Date(s): 1798-1893 (inclusive)
Date(s): 1827-1887 (bulk).
Quantity: 1 collection (9.5 linear feet (29 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Correspondence and manuscripts of American educator, social reformer, and humanitarian, Dorothea Dix.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Gift of Mrs. Horatio A. Lamb; received: 1938 July 16 and 1943 March 24.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Dorothea Lynde Dix Papers, 1798-1893 (MS Am 1838). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Dix was a humanitarian crusader for the mentally ill. She investigated the conditions of the hospitalized insane in many U.S. states and some European countries, and petitioned state and national legislatures for reforms. She was also superintendent of army nurses during the Civil War.


Arranged in five series:

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection is correspondence, much of it pertaining to Dix's work with the mentally ill. Includes letters from superintendents of hospitals for the insane: 134 from Dr. John Curwen at the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Asylum in Harrisburg, 129 from Dr. Charles H. Nichols at the Government Hospital for the Insane (now St. Elizabeths) in Washington, D.C., and 124 from Richard S. Fellowes in New Haven, Conn., as well as 69 letters from U.S. president Millard Fillmore, and letters of thanks from states, institutions, and relatives of the mentally ill. Also contains Dix's correspondence with friends in the U.S. and Great Britain; third party correspondence relating to Dix's career or discussing her after her death; reports and notes on hospitals and prisons; documents to establish asylums, regulate prisons, or authorize Dix to organize military hospitals; military passes; notebooks Dix kept with hymns, sermons, and passages from the Bible; one diary, 1857; poems; address books; financial and genealogical papers; wills; portraits; daguerreotypes; biographical material; puzzles; printed material; clippings; and memorabilia.

Container List