The march of medicine; Dorothea Lynde Dix: The do-gooder
She was 39 years old and had not yet found a cause to live for or to die for. Born on the Massachusetts up in Maine. By tradition a daughter of a Puritan saints she was a good deed. Looking for a place to happen. The name was Dorothy Dix and on this Sunday in the year 1841 she had been teaching Sunday school to the women prisoners in the Cambridge jail. Yes I should like to see this. That's right. Now you want to be a good Christian lady like you. Come now now here. Here. Just
look here. What have they done. They ain't done nothing. Loonies lunatics you know it crazy their poor ones of course rich ones they keep at home or someplace. Where a lady like you wouldn't know much about gas but. Since I've been here I seen a lot of. You wouldn't go putting a Veyron here. Well next thing you know they'd burn down the jail and Anyway don't matter lunatics don't like you and me.
The American hospital supply corporation present. MARCH OF MADISON some episodes in the history of hospitals and the people who work in them. Protect your house and mine. Our story for today do gooder. This is Paul Barnes speaking. I think I must warn you that the story which we are about to tell is in some of its details a shocking one indeed. Even our opening scene which you have just heard may have horrified you a little. If so that is a measure of the great work done by Dorothea Dix over 100 years ago. She contributed nothing to the great researches which have brought as nearer to solving the problems of mental illness and retardation. She did
everything to change attitudes toward mental illness before her time. The lunatics and idiots as the phrase went were regarded as animals and were treated at best with inhuman callousness and at worst with horrifying brutality. Since her time the mentally ill have been restored to the human race. And now here is our guest Mr. Brewer Grant executive director of the Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago to tell you something about modern improvements in treatment and hospital care for the mentally ill. Mr. Grant one of the great gains has radically changed attitudes towards mental and emotional disturbance. Our new outlook has produced better hospital better therapies and above all more humane understanding treatment of mental patients. At the same time however many serious problems remain. One of the most pressing is to secure sufficient personnel to work in our institutions serving the mentally ill. I know of no field today
which presents a greater intellectual challenge to young men and young women or greater opportunity for valuable human service. Thank you Mr. Grant. Dorothy Dix born on the front here between Maine and Massachusetts in the year eighteen hundred two daughter of a wandering preacher granddaughter of a Boston physician at the age of 12 she ran away from home took shelter in her grandmother's house and never returned to her parents. She once said to a friend's child who had a happy childhood. I had no childhood at all. I think I was born at the age of 12 and I made myself into a woman when I was 14. It was almost literally true. Whatever her other rebellions Dorothea Dix was by no means a school dropout. In 1816 when she was 14 years old she lengthened her skirts put up her hair and started a private school for small children. She had a hunger for good works.
She once wrote to a friend. The avocation of. Something elevating a. House surrounded by the young. One may be doing something good. I love to watch the progress of just emerging from infancy. When thoughts first spring into existence. And fancies excited by every passing acquaintance. The language is as modern as the Peace Corps or operation. Middle class. But they were also. Good.
The new school opened and Dorothea Dix had her chance at the good works which she craved. She was caught up in the intellectual excitement which was Boston at that time. She attended lectures on astronomy. She wrote books and she found her true father in William Ellery Channing the great exponent of Unitarianism. Dr. Channing you do not know me but I do mistakes.
You were pointed out to me. But why should anyone point me out to you being a father. I am selfishly interested in education. You have done a great work as a teacher. Mystics Thank you. Thank you but I really did not approach you to hear compliments but to give them your service was wonderful. A true revelation. And now I must thank you. Our doctrines seem radical and shocking to many. Yet I cannot but think that you would receive them well. I do Dr. Chan or at least as far as I have heard them. When you said this evening must be sacred in man's sight. I felt you recognized an article of your own faith. Yes it is true. Then I shall resign to your will. Another of our doctrines and enlightened
disinterested human being moderately strong and exercising a wide influence through the power of virtue is the clearest reflection of the divine splendor on this earth. Remember that in your teaching mistakes I shall Oh I shall and you must come back and hear our maw. I think that in spirit you are one of us. She didn't come back to hear more from Janet. And eventually she came to him for counsel. Even for healing. When her health failed after years of teaching he wrote her. I look forward to your future life not altogether without solicitude but with the prevailing hope. Your health your prospects of usefulness. But I believe your constitution will yet be
built up. If you give it a fat chance. You must give up your plans of usefulness as much as gratification. For the will of God. We may make the occasion of self-will vanity and pride as much as anything yeah. Maybe not one of your danger lies there. Perhaps one of her dangers did live there. At any rate she could never give up the dream of being useful. And when at the age of 39 she came face to face with the poor lunatics in the East Cambridge jail. So all of them freezing miserable brutalized she said to herself now. And she went out to change the world. The. OS
was a high in the ear as a hundred. My name is Dan Daly. What I have to say you know is very serious. But I think it's exciting and important. We know a great deal about mental illness and I'm going to learn more. We have many fine hospitals for mental patients and we're going to make them finer and more efficient to do this we need people dedicated young people to work with the mentally ill. We need many more doctors of course. We also need psychologists psychiatric social workers and nurses literally by the thousands. Later on in this program I'm going to tell you a little about one of the special careers. I hope you'll be listening. It might make all the difference in your future life. The top. Quarter everybody.
This is Paul Barnes. Dorothea Dix indignant over the plight of the mentally ill in Massachusetts jails and poorhouses did what any daughter of the Puritans would have done. She went to court confident that justice would prevail. These poor creatures are not criminals you're gonna get they are confined with thieves with murderers with scoundrels of every stripe. They are treated worse than criminals. They are forced to live in their own filth. They are left to free they have money their family if they have any of them. If they had money if they had money they might be treated as if they were human beings. I tell you a man's dignity is not so likely mocked dictionary must caution your use of such intemperate. You must forgive me. I spoke from a full house. And yet in this community in this state
there are those dedicated to the ideals of our revolutionary fathers who would be less temperate in this matter than I if they knew if they knew. There was an outcry against Dorothea Dix and her ridiculous charges slander lies. But the dedicated man the saving minority learned that she spoke the truth and joined their voices to hers. Dr. Samuel Gridley Hall wrote an article on conditions in the Cambridge jail and Charles Sumner's supported mystics. You read the article I have to say and your opinion. In other circumstances I might praise they for his courage in speaking the unpopular but exact truth. But in Dr. Howe's case this sort of courage is only his usual habit.
Excellent. I want to tell you that I am supporting his article in a public letter to The Daily Advertiser and I see no reason to offer my congratulations to Charles Sumner for exhibiting again his courage and humanity. He would remark goes far beyond compliment mystics. But if you're considered on what a voyage you are now and barked how Mr Sound. Well your efforts may give comfort to those poor victims in East Cambridge. But one of the popular idiots madman in a dozen or a hundred houses in jails throughout Massachusetts. Are you not committed now to a day and she did not quite know the answer to some of those questions. And as always in times of puzzlement she paid a call on her friend and advisor William Ellery Channing not to Channing. I have seen so much and so little these poor
people without resources without anyone to care for them. I have seen how wonderfully they respond when they are warmed and clothed and treated with even the small kindness she would accord a pet dog. In this state there are hundreds thousands like no one know. If I were to go to them go to them all and make their case to the legislature. Perhaps perhaps even the legislate TAWS might understand the spark the spark of the divine. Well my idea and you would hesitate. You once warned me ducked it but I must give up my dream of being useful in the face of the will of God. This effort will take months. I am not in robust health as you know.
My dear I cannot pretend at this stage of life to speak for the Almighty. Nevertheless I believe that this cause is indeed the purpose of your life. The goal you have looked for are so long can that be true. I do not know. I do not even know if I shall live to see the fruits of your work but I shall receive to you a great saying from an old book. It is this you know as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brothers right you have done it all soul on to me. This is Dan Daly again. I promised a few minutes ago to tell you about some of the special professions connected with the field of mental health. Because everybody knows about the great work done by psychiatrists who must undergo years of training to become doctors and after that
more years of study to learn about mental and emotional disorders. Maybe you have the talent and strength to join this great profession. Why don't you find out. But if years of college and medical school and possible for you. Have you ever thought of becoming a psychiatric a qualified person of high school age is eligible for such a position a psychiatric aid works directly with mental patients in a hospital helping them when they need help and cards and when they are trying so desperately to get well what a psychiatric aide needs most is understanding patience and kindness. This might be just a job for you. Why don't you find out. Ah. Ha. Yeah. This is Paul Barnes or Dorothea Dix. Once she embarked on her
project of visiting the mentally ill of Massachusetts the poor mentally ill of Massachusetts there followed 18 months of sheer horror. Of course mystics fully like to show a lady every right to see but I fear that you have upset our good war dress. Indeed and how I am sure she was abashed to display our female maniac just now. I am glad she has so much feeling. I confess I am puzzled as well. Why did you wish to see her. She is fall is she not. It is nearly impossible to remain near her cage. She screams curses and beats herself against the boss. Surely we both witnessed that. And to add to the catalogue her skin is much to see East in sheets. Yes so I witnessed that too. As to your question. I suppose I am interested in discovering the awful depths to which
humanity may sink and you'll go. No no I did not find it in her. Name gets right lively. No no if you can sleep if you can sleep. Let him forget. Can you tell me something about the old man care. Let me see. He's been like this twenty years I used to be a farmer around here has he been here at the poor all that time maybe six seven years before that used to auction him off every year. You know all the others are much good. Anybody that wouldn't charge too much could have
all the sequins and the old ones of the crazy ones in time ship usually kept him chained up in sheds. Now that he can't walk. Somebody kept him locked up for a few years back and his feet froze. He's been able to walk since. I hope his master that he didn't suffer. Likely not mom just didn't reckon how cold it was. Then tell me they can't walk. Why is he training now. We got to be careful of them. You can crawl Condi and when he gets wired he might do some damage. Our great friend Dr. Channing had died during these terrible months but he was welcomed back by his widow and there in the house on month burn in St.. She began to write her great memorial to the Massachusetts legislature and the nation and the world.
Because. Of. The condition of the miserable. Helpless men and women. Being to a condition from which the concerned. Beings rich. And severe. Composing. The condition of human beings. The extremest states of degradation and misery. Cannot be exhibited. The memorial was a powerful document loaded with the evidence she had gathered in nearly two
years of effort. Of course there was a violent outcry against the memorial and against her. And of course the politicians of the legislature tried to avoid by all possible means taking action on the memorial. A friend said to mystics I do not like to indulge in feelings of distrust but I have been irritated by the cold peculiarity policy of these men. A friend of mine overheard one of those very men who talked so sympathetically to say we must find some way to kill this devil of a hospital or better. Speaking of these traitors another friend and one versed in the wiles of politicians said to me Doctor never mind. There is a hero and these fellows will fight it. At last the day arrived when a bill providing new and relatively good accommodations for mental patients came before the Massachusetts legislature. If passed it meant a
small step forward in hospital reform if defeated it meant total defeat. Dorothy adik sat in the library of the Channing home to await the news before her was a copy of her memorial. I demand you to take these of our six. Fathers husbands. I would supplicate. Gentlemen I commit to you this secret. See here. Doctor how you bring you I fear to ask what it is. Mystics mystics your bill has passed it is Duraid.
Now to this is Dan dating again a story you've been listening to a wonderful woman Dorothea Dix once set out to change American attitudes toward mental illness to make us understand of the mentally ill are ill but they can be cured and return to their jobs and their families. The psychiatric social worker does much the same sort of thing. Over a century after his career if you worked in the special field you would counsel mental patients so that they might be able to make the great step from the hospital to normal family life. We would work with the families of patients so they might understand how to help your business would be to make the patient's recovery a lasting psychiatric social work takes a lot of education. High school college and professional master's degree there are many professions in the world as useful or rewarding. So why don't you see if you are qualified.
I am. I am. I am. Yeah. When Dorothea Dix experienced her first great triumph when a bill based on her memorial past the Massachusetts legislature she had still before her a lifetime of service to the mentally ill. She went on to state after state observing and reporting she composed a memorial after memorial to state legislatures. She met and converted to her cause men with money and men with boats. One of the latter a New Jersey farmer legislator who came to tell her that her cause was nonsense. Listen to her for an hour and then said Madam I bid you good night. I do not want to hear anything the others can stay if they want to go. I am convinced. I
showed vote for the hospital you want. If you come to the house and talk there as you have done here no man that isn't a brute can't stand you. And when a man's convinced that's enough the Lord bless you. As for Dorothea Dix she said I encountered nothing which you determined will created by the necessities of the cause does not enable me to vanquish. And in that statement she was quite correct. She continued to win her victories for decency and kindness and human dignity as long as she lived. March of Madison. Some episodes in the history of hospitals and the people who work in
them to protect your health and mine. March of Madison as presented by American hospital supply corporation appearing on this program where fern person was called Barnes Norman got shot and killed rescue. This is Mark Malone is speaking. Research for a medical and historical detail on this series is provided by the research department of Encyclopedia Brittanica next week. And the discovery of X-rays. If you would like a copy of the script used in this broadcast or information on careers in the fields of medicine and health please send your name and address on a postcard to health careers. Post Office Box four to seven. Evanston Illinois. Oh.
This program was distributed by national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
- The march of medicine
- Producing Organization
- WMAQ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program focuses on the story of Dorothea Lynde Dix. It also includes a public service announcement by actor Dan Dailey.
- Series Description
- Drama series highlighting important moments in medicine. Each program also includes a public service announcement related to medicine or hospitals.
- Media type
Producing Organization: WMAQ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Speaker: Dailey, Dan, 1914-1978
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-4-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “The march of medicine; Dorothea Lynde Dix: The do-gooder,” 1966-12-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 4, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9s1kn01v.
- MLA: “The march of medicine; Dorothea Lynde Dix: The do-gooder.” 1966-12-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9s1kn01v>.
- APA: The march of medicine; Dorothea Lynde Dix: The do-gooder. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9s1kn01v