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Dorothea Dix

1-cent Dorothea Dix stamp
The Dorothea Dix stamp was issued on September 23, 1983.

Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) worked ardently for prison reform and to aid the mentally ill. She had been teaching for 20 years when she fell ill and traveled to Europe to recuperate. During her time in England she met people working to reform prisons and improve care for the mentally ill. At that time, prisons housed both criminals and the mentally ill who could not function in society.

Upon returning to the United States Dorothea witnessed the pitiable conditions of the prisons in America. She immediately took action, gathering clothes for inmates, recording conditions at jails and helping several states pass legislation for the mentally ill. Dorothea eventually founded 32 mental hospitals and 15 schools for children with learning disabilities, as well as schools for the blind and nursing schools.