Dorothea Dix's papers consist of correspondence from Miss Dix to various people, as well as some correspondence in which Miss Dix was concerned, but not directly involved. Dix was an advocate for social welfare, particularly supporting the establishment and maintenance of mental hospitals for the mentally ill, disabled, or poor. She was instrumental in the proposed legislation of the "Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane." During the Civil War, Dix was appointed Superintendent of Army Nurses. Much of the correspondence concerns Dix's efforts to bring lifeboats and other help to Sable Island in Nova Scotia, an area known for shipwrecks and where many with mental illnesses were sent, sometimes against their will. These papers are part of the historic psychiatry material in the Menninger Archives.