Elaine Goodale Eastman

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Elaine Eastman (Goodale)

Birthdate: (90)
Death: 1953 (90)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Henry Stirling Goodale and Dora Hill Goodale
Wife of Charles Alexander "Ohiye Sa" Eastman
Mother of Dora Winona Eastman; Irene Taluta Eastman; Virginia Eastman Whitbeck; Charles Alexander Ohiyesa Eastman, Jr.; Eleanor Eastman Mensel and 1 other
Sister of Dora Read Goodale and Rose Goodale

Managed by: Gene Daniell
Last Updated:

About Elaine Goodale Eastman




Elaine Goodale Eastman

In 1881 Elaine published The Journal of a Farmer's Daughter. Two years later she became a teacher at the Hampton Institute, a historically black college in Virginia for the education of freedmen, where she taught a new group of 100 Native American students from the West. In 1885 Goodale made a tour of observation through the Sioux Reservation, as she wanted to learn more about where her students' world.

Having become interested in the cause of Indian reform, in 1886 Elaine Goodale received a government appointment to teach Indians at the White River Camp, where she set up a day school. She strongly supported educating children at day schools on the reservations rather than sending them away to boarding schools. In 1890 Goodale was appointed Superintendent of Indian Education for the Two Dakotas for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre in December 1890, she cared for the wounded with Dr. Charles Eastman, a Santee Sioux doctor of part Anglo-American ancestry. They fell in love, and in 1891 she and Charles were married in New York.

The couple had six children:

Dora Winona Eastman, d. August 22, 1964, Northampton, MA (married)
Irene Eastman, d. October 23, 1918, Keene, NH
Virginia Eastman, d. April 2, 1991, Amherst, MA (married Mr. Whitbeck)
Eleanor Eastman, d. May 2, 1999, Pittsford, NY (married Mr. Mensel)
Florence Eastman, d. December 30, 1930, Holyoke, MA (married Mr. Prentiss)
Charles Eastman Jr. (Ohiyesa), d. January 15, 1940, Detroit, MI

The couple remained together for three decades, returning to Massachusetts to live in 1903. They had struggled financially after Eastman was forced out of two physician positions with the Indian Health Service. For a time they both worked at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. After Goodale Eastman started helping Eastman write his stories of childhood and Indian culture, he became well known and sought after for lectures. The family was based in Amherst, near Goodale's family, as Eastman increasingly traveled for public lectures and other activities. Goodale managed his lecture tours and associated publicity, as he had about 25 lectures annually. They also collaborated on writing, and he published eight books while they lived in Amherst; Goodale Eastman published three.

In 1915 the family founded their own summer camp at Granite Lake, New Hampshire, where the adults and three oldest children all worked for several years. Their daughter Irene, a promising opera singer and Charles' favorite, died in the influenza epidemic of 1918, leaving both parents devastated and further straining their relationship. In 1921, after allegations that Charles had an affair and an illegitimate child, the couple separated, although they never divorced or acknowledged the separation publicly. Eastman did not publish any books after their separation.

Goodale Eastman continued to write, publishing four books after her separation from Charles: The Luck of Old Acres (1928), a novel about a summer camp; and her last book of poems, The Voice at Eve (1930}, which included a biographical essay entitled "All the Days of My Life." In 1935, when she was more than 70 years old, she published both her best novel, One Hundred Maples, and a biography of Richard Henry Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian School.[8] She also published numerous articles, letters and book reviews published in a variety of journals. Her 1935 biography of Pratt and a 1945 article on the Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee Massacre are recognized as "important historical documents on the transition period in Plains Indian history."

After her death in 1953, she was buried in Florence, Massachusetts, near where her daughter Dora and her family lived. Goodale Eastman wrote a memoir about her experiences as a school teacher of the Sioux called Sister to the Sioux. The manuscript, which is property of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, was published posthumously in 1978 by the University of Nebraska Press.


In 1950 Goodale Eastman donated her papers to Smith College, where she had earned her undergraduate degree. (She had removed most of the references to Charles Eastman.)
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Elaine Goodale Eastman's Timeline

May 31, 1892
Age 29
Pine Ridge, Shannon County, SD, USA
February 24, 1894
Age 31
St Paul, Ramsey County, MN, USA
November 3, 1896
Age 33
September 19, 1898
Age 35
Redding, Farfield County, CT, USA
November 30, 1901
Age 38
Crow Creek, Buffalo County, SD, USA
Age 40
Age 90