Dorothea Dix was first born in Hampden Maine, but left an abusive father and family for her grandmother’s home in Massachusetts at age twelve. As a young adult, Dix spent many years teaching girls that lacked access to education because of their gender and socio-economic status. After a bout of sickness that brought Dix to England, the young teacher returned to Massachusetts with a desire to understand how the state cared for citizens that were mentally ill and homeless. Dix travelled throughout the state conducted research and published a report called Memorial to the MA state legislature which resulted in an expanded bill to create a home for the mentally ill in Worcester, MA. Her success inspired her to continue to advocate for the mentally ill throughout the United States. Dix worked tireless to bring about change states such as New Jersey, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. Dix also traveled abroad and published reports in Scotland and Nova Scotia which lead to improvements in laws and regulations regarding the treatment of the mentally ill. Even though she has been a leading figure in mental health care and reform, Dix is only mentioned in about 10% of United States History textbooks.
source from: http://www2.webster.edu/~woolflm/dorotheadix.html