Mary Henderson Eastman (1818-1824)

Mary Henderson Eastman was a writer and ethnologist who studied Sioux culture. In 1841 her husband took command of Fort Snelling in Minnesota. Mary Eastman spent many hours developing relationships with the Dakotas and learning the Sioux language. She published "Dahcotah; or, Life and Legends of the Sioux" (which probably inspired Longfellow's "Hiawatha"), in 1849. The book depicted Sioux legends and customs and pointed out that racist assumptions made by whites were based on ignorance. Eastman published several short Native American pieces in various collections through the years, always expressing anger at white treatment of Amerindians. Ironically, Eastman, a Southerner, was outraged by Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and penned an idealized portrait of slave life in "Aunt Phillis's Cabin; or, Southern Life As It Is" (1852), one of the most popular of the anti-"Uncle Tom" novels. During the course of the Civil War, however, Eastman changed her mind about slavery and became a Unionist. She continued to publish poetry and journalism for the rest of her life.

Date:
1872 circa 5 years
Original Format:
Carte de Visite
Item#:
MES23357
Photographer:
William S. Warren (Boston)
Height:
1252px
Width:
738px
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