Dorothea Dix was a teacher and a theater of the mentally ill, but let's start from the beginning. She was born on April 4, 1802 in Hampden Maine. Her mother was close to being mentally ill and her father was an alcoholic. When her parents had two more boys, she had to take care of them, and said that she never experienced childhood. When she was about 14 her parents became incapable of caring for he rand her brothers, so they sent them off to live with their Grandma. They were not accustomed to being raised so prim and proper, so they hardly fit in with her.
Her first career was as a teacher in her grandmothers mansion. Her second-cousin Edward helped her become a teacher, and later fell in love with her. She was shocked at the beginning but accepted his proposal. Once her Grandma died, she decided that teaching wasn't for her. After that she went to a prison and viewed the mentally ill people. She was so upset by it that she decided to start treating mentally ill people. She did this until the Civil War broke out.
When this happened she found a new path that she felt she had to take; taking care of soldiers. She started out as a volunteer nurse, but Edwin Stanton appointed her head of the female nurses for the Union. She took her new job seriously and sternly. She was a hard hitting nurse that no one was brave enough to stand up to. People were concerned about attractive, young, unmarried women being around men so she purposely hired nurses that were unattractive and in their 40s or 50s. She did this because she didn't want to have society judging the hospital because of the women they hired.
Dorothea Dix's Nurse Rules
1. Must be over 30 years old.
2. Must Be plain looking.
3. Must wear brown or black dresses.
4. No frills, ribbons, hoop skirts, or jewelry.
These rules gave her the nickname "Dragon Dix". She was so strict that most of the doctors, surgeons and nurses resented her authority. She was the superintendent until the war ended, she worked without pay to her request. She continued to treat the mentally ill until her death in 1887.