By exposing the sickening conditions people with mental illness endured in jails, almshouses, and basement cells, Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) single-handedly transformed the U.S. system of mental health care in the 19th century. Dix traveled from state to state, describing the hideous suffering people who were both poor and mentally ill endured at the hands of their captors. Her tireless research and personal lobbying of legislators led to construction of asylums for the mentally ill in state after state.
Oxford Portraits are informative and insightful biographies of people whose lives shaped their times and continue to influence ours. Based on the most recent scholarship, they draw heavily on primary sources, including writings by and about their subjects. Each book is illustrated with a wealth of photographs, documents, memorabilia, framing the personality and achievements of its subject against the backdrop of history.