Dorothea Dix Portrait and Historic Documents Donated to City

News posted Oct. 04, 2019 - 1:07 pm
Two people looking at the framed photo and letter

Honoring the history and legacy of place is a key priority identified in the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan. During this week’s regular meeting of the Raleigh City Council, Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced the City has secured the donation of a portrait of Dix Park namesake Dorothea Dix and correspondence between Dix and the 13th President of the United States, Millard Fillmore.

“Donations, like this one, not only help us tell this story but also ensures that we are stewards of the site’s history,” said Mayor Nancy McFarlane. “Understanding the layered history of the site informs and enriches the plans for the future and contributes to our understanding of how to become a more empathetic, compassionate and empowered City.”

The donated items, a framed image of Dorothea Dix with an accompanying letter dated January 1854 to the 13th President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, and a book of transcribed letters between Dorothea Dix and Millard Fillmore, are currently on temporary receipt to the benefit of the Dorothea Dix Park Collection.

Carolyn Billings, a psychiatric nurse from Raleigh, donated the items to the City. Ms. Billings received the items from a former co-worker of Dorothea Dix and graciously provided them as a means of sharing the Dorothea Dix legacy with future generations.

Dix Park will be a place that is authentic and mindful of its past, and a place where people can come together in remembrance and reflection. It will also be a place to explore, celebrate, have fun, and learn and grow as individuals and as a community.

About the Collection

The Dorothea Dix Park Collection is managed by the Historic Resources and Museum program. Artifacts being considered as gifts to the City through the Historic Resources and Museum program undergo an industry standard process of accessioning that includes review, comment, and recommendations from staff and the Historic Resources and Museum Advisory Board’s (HRMAB) Collections Committee. The City anticipates formal acceptance during the HRMAB Collections Committee meeting on Oct. 14.

For more information, contact Sarah Baker, Senior Policy Analyst, at 919-996-4279, or Ainsley Powell, Curator of Collections, at 919-996-4365.

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