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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 59

Dorothea Lynde Dix letters to Anne E. Heath and other letters


Letters from American nurse and social-welfare reformer Dorothea Dix to Anne E. Heath and other correspondence.


  • 1820-1884

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


3 linear feet (9 boxes)
Consists of approximately 500 letters from Dix to Anne E. Heath concerning Dix's work and travels, as well as the activities of mutual friends and the Boston social scene. Also contains a small number of letters from Heath to Dix; from Dix to Heath's sister, Abby Barnett (spelled variously by Dix as Barrnet/Barnet/Barnett); from Dix to her brother, Joseph; and from Dix to Heath's brother, Charles. NB: Some letters are accompanied by envelopes bearing short notes regarding contents, date, and other relevant information; presumably these notes are in Anne Heath's hand.

Biographical / Historical

After an early career as a Boston schoolteacher and author of children's books, Dix became concerned with the plight of the mentally ill in the United States, especially the indigent. She traveled widely in North America and Britain to investigate hospital conditions and subsequently became politically active, petitioning state and national legislatures for reforms. She was also appointed superintendent of female army nurses during the American Civil War.


Organized into the following series:
  1. I. Letters from Dix to Anne E. Heath
  2. II. Letters from Dix to Abby Barnett
  3. III. Letters from Dix to others
  4. IV. Letters from Anne E. Heath to Dix
  5. V. Letters from Nancy W. Burnap to Dix
  6. VI. Letters from others to Dix
  7. VII. Other correspondence
  8. VIII. Other material
Within each series, contents are presumed to be in rough chronological order; many letters, especially early ones, lack a date

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number; Gift of Mrs. William H. White; received: 1937.

Processing Information

Processed by: Michael W. Austin
Link to catalog
Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887. Dorothea Lynde Dix letters to Anne E. Heath and other letters, 1820-1884: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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