Dorothea Lynde Dix and Dr. Francis T. Stribling created a friendship wherein they shared their unfettered opinions on a large range of topics. She was the most well-traveled and political woman of her time. Dix persuaded the most influential men in the nation and overseas to help her provide for those who could not help themselves. Dix was responsible for the creation of thirty-two mental hospitals in the United States and other countries. She also created schools for the feeble-minded and blind as well as training schools for nurses. Dix also was the first woman in the nation to petition a state legislature and Congress. During the Civil War she headed the Union nurses in the Union Army. Dr. Francis T. Stribling. During his tenure at Western State from 1836 until his death in 1874 Stribling advanced the care and cure of the mentally ill in Virginia and throughout the South. His story and that of his hospital, in microcosm, is the story of 19th century psychiatry and disputes about race, gender and class as well as politics. Stribling rewrote the Virginia law governing treatment of the insane. He also was one of the founders of the organization that evolved into the American Psychiatric Association. Years later, Dr. Hobart Hansen of Western State would write “Stribling had no tranquilizers or shock treatments, and knew nothing of psychoanalysis. Yet, out of his simple humanness, he had remarkable success in rehabilitation of the insane.”
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