Woman's Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience

By L. P. Brockett; Mary C. Vaughan | Go to book overview

DOROTHEA L. DIX.

AMONG all the women who devoted themselves with untiring energy, and gave talents of the highest order to the work of caring for our soldiers during the war, the name of Dorothea L. Dix will always take the first rank, and history will undoubtedly preserve it long after all others have sunk into oblivion. This her extraordinary and exceptional official position will secure. Others have doubtless done as excellent a work, and earned a praise equal to her own, but her relations to the government will insure her historical mention and remembrance, while none will doubt the sincerity of her patriotism, or the faithfulness of her devotion.

Dorothea L. Dix is a native of Worcester, Mass. Her father was a physician, who died while she was as yet young, leaving her almost without pecuniary resources.

Soon after this event, she proceeded to Boston, where she opened a select school for young ladies, from the income of which she was enabled to draw a comfortable support.

One day during her residence in Boston, while passing along a street, she accidentally overheard two gentlemen, who were walking before her, conversing about the state prison at Charlestown, and expressing their sorrow at the neglected condition of the convicts. They were undoubtedly of that class of philanthropists who believe that no man, however vile, is all bad, but, though sunk into the lowest depths of vice, has yet in his soul some white spot which

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