GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2004-10 > 1097409555
From: "Betty" <>
Subject: Re: Dorothea DIX, Biography ..
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 07:59:16 -0400
Someone on the Worcester County List just reminded readers that, during the
1800's, many of the returning Civil War soldiers .. might .. have gone to
live in State Hospitals or Asylums. Today, the term would have been
"post-traumatic stress disorder." That wasn't known about in the 1800's,
but we can all imagine the STRESS those soldiers went through.
And, I was also reminded of all the people who became "indigent" for one
reason or another -- who might have been forced to go live in a prison or
"asylum" because they had no place to live -- especially during a "New
Betty (near Lowell, MA)
P.S. Someone else reminded me that some people who died in the State
Hospitals might not have been buried on the grounds of the hospitals. If
they were Catholic, they might have been taken to a Catholic cemetery.
And a few weeks ago, someone suggested that ..all... cemeteries, especially
"town cemeteries" (or "city cemeteries") might have had a corner of their
cemetery set aside for .. people who had died in "institutions."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Betty" <>
Sent: Saturday, October 09, 2004 8:10 PM
Subject: Dorothea DIX, Biography ..
> This evening someone recommended I visit the www.amazon.com web site to
> look for something I wanted. While at the site, I did a search for:
> "State, Mentally Ill, Hospitals" and was told that there were thousands
> of books with those words in the titles. When I checked some of them
> I came across several books about .. Dorothea DIX. I haven't finished
> looking at the story yet, but, as with other "1800's women," she .. went
> about "changing the world."
> Just this one page about her life is worth the read.
> And, there were several books which seemed to discuss how the "mentally
> were treated .. from Colonial times....
> I also did a search for "Social, 1800's, United States," looking for
> books on the social laws of the 1800's in the USA, and, again, was told
> thousands of books have those words in their title.
> ...And, a PBS "Mystery" movie was just on TV, and one of the
> reminded me of another reason why women ..were sent to live in
> "institutions" or "asylums" in the 1800's: Their husbands didn't want
> them anymore, and had them "declared" mentally ill. In the old days,
> women / wives had NO rights at all, and had no one to defend them against
> ....men with no conscience.
> ...And, in my own life, because of people I've met, I've found out that
> there are "mental illnesses" which come on .. around Age 18 - or just
> the time a young person finishes his or her high school years. And,
> many people in the 1800's and early 1900's became "abusive drunks" - and
> were "committed" because they no longer had the capability to take care of
> their responsibilities. And, what about all the women who became
> "unstable" due to childbirth. The list of "reasons" could go on and on
> ... for people to no longer live ... in their own homes.
> And, I would imagine these reasons went clear through "class lines."
> Although it was probably "the idle rich" who didn't want anyone
> living in their homes.
> And, on the other side, "the poor" couldn't afford "full time care" for
> their "imperfect relatives" - especially if both husband and wife were
> forced to work.
> And, here it is 2004 going into 2005 .. and "people with mental health
> problems" are STILL not treated with respect and treated with the proper
> It makes me wonder ... where are the "Dorothea DIX's" of .. the 2000's !
> Betty (near Lowell, MA)