[Boston: Monroe and Francis, 1843]. First edition, second printing. First printed earlier that same year. Toned. Contemporary ink signature (“Rev. T.J.G. Nichols”) to top margin of front cover. Quite fresh internally despite foxing. A very good, copy of a scarce, fragile item. Original printed paper self-wrappers, stitched. 5 in. x 9 in. 32 pp. Item #17022
Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802 – 1887) addresses the State Legislature of Massachusetts: “Surrendering to my calm and deep convictions of duty my habitual views of what is womanly and becoming, I proceed briefly to explain what has conducted me before you…About two years since…duty prompted me to visit several prisons and alms-houses in the vicinity…I found, near Boston, in the Jails and Asylums for the poor, a numerous class brought into unsuitable connexion with criminals and the general mass of Paupers. I refer to Idiots and Insane persons, dwelling in circumstances not only adverse to their own physical and moral improvement, but productive of extreme disadvantages to all other persons brought into association with them,” (p. 3).
“Dix’s name is synonymous with her lifelong crusade to improve the lot of the mentally ill. The present work was the first of her many communications addressed to a state government; it described…the appalling conditions suffered by Massachusetts’ indigent insane and mentally deficient persons, most of whom at that time were incarcerated in jails and almshouses and treated with either brutality or neglect. Dix’s efforts, supported by some of New England’s prominent social reformers, prompted the Massachusetts legislature to pass a bill calling for substantial expansion of the Worcester State Hospital’s facilities for the indigent insane,” (Norman 643). See Hunter & Macalpine, Three Hundred Years of Psychiatry, p. 911; Deutsch, Mentally Ill in America, second ed., pp. 158-85.