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MS Am 59

Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887. Dorothea Lynde Dix letters to Anne E. Heath and other letters, 1820-1884: 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 59
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887.
Title: Dorothea Lynde Dix letters to Anne E. Heath and other letters,
Date(s): 1820-1884.
Quantity: 1 collection (3 boxes (3 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Letters from American nurse and social-welfare reformer Dorothea Dix to Anne E. Heath and other correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number; Gift of Mrs. William H. White; received: 1937.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Michael W. Austin

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Dorothea Lynde Dix Letters to Anne E. Heath and Other Letters, 1820-1884 (MS Am 59). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

After an early career as a Boston schoolteacher and author of children's books, Dix became concerned with the plight of the mentally ill in the United States, especially the indigent. She traveled widely in North America and Britain to investigate hospital conditions and subsequently became politically active, petitioning state and national legislatures for reforms. She was also appointed superintendent of female army nurses during the American Civil War.


Organized into the following series: Within each series, contents are presumed to be in rough chronological order; many letters, especially early ones, lack a date

Scope and Contents

Consists of approximately 500 letters from Dix to Anne E. Heath concerning Dix's work and travels, as well as the activities of mutual friends and the Boston social scene. Also contains a small number of letters from Heath to Dix; from Dix to Heath's sister, Abby Barnett (spelled variously by Dix as Barrnet/Barnet/Barnett); from Dix to her brother, Joseph; and from Dix to Heath's brother, Charles. NB: Some letters are accompanied by envelopes bearing short notes regarding contents, date, and other relevant information; presumably these notes are in Anne Heath's hand.

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