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Eastman-Goodale-Dayton family papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00053

Scope and Contents

The Eastman-Goodale-Dayton Family papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, unpublished writings and printed materials, organization and subject files, photographs, memorabilia, and scrapbooks. Some members of the family and time periods are better documented than others due to the identity of the major donors, and the circumstances influencing what was saved, or lost, in the case of the Amherst cottage fire in 1897. The bulk of the collection, given by Elaine Goodale Eastman in her later years when she was living in Northampton, best documents her life, and that of her immediate family, as well as her writing and continued interest in Native American policy, from the late 1920s until her death. Her scrapbooks provide some information about earlier decades in her life, mostly her writings, and those of other family members. Because Elaine and Charles had gone their separate ways in 1921 and never reconciled, there is little related to Charles. A second major acquisition, given in 1999 and 2002, consists of correspondence and other items saved by Rose Goodale Dayton. A third acquisition, purchased from a book dealer in 2010, significantly augmented the books and other writings authored by family members, including Charles Eastman.

The Henry Goodale and Deborah Read Hill Goodale material consists of a small amount of correspondence and writings (1861-98). The Dora Read Goodale papers include biographical information, extensive correspondence, primarily with her sister Rose, and her manuscript and published writings (1892-1950). The bulk of the papers are those of Elaine Goodale Eastman and consist of biographical materials, correspondence, and writings; her controversy with the Daughters of the American Revolution (1928-29); involvement with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; and writings, photographs and organizations related to Native Americans. In addition to Elaine's writings on Native Americans and her miscellaneous writings, of particular interest are photographs of South Dakota in the 1890s, particularly of the Pine Ridge Agency, Native Americans, Wounded Knee, and American troops. Additional material relates to the family of Rose Goodale Dayton. While there are some courtship letters from Rose to her fiancé, there is more about other members of her extended family as she was the recipient of many of the letters, including the sole letter from Charles Eastman. There is also a short journal written by Deborah Goodale's mother, Eleanor Rogers (Lyon) Read (1866-68).

The bulk of the papers date from the 1920s to the 1950s, though there is significant late nineteenth--early twentieth century material, especially in the writings and scrapbooks, but also in correspondence.

Writings, including scrapbooks, comprise about half of the collection, and correspondence makes up approximately one-third of it. The bulk of the correspondence is between family members. Other notable correspondents include Samuel Armstrong, John Collier, Henry Dawes, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Rosika Schwimmer, and Mary Heaton Vorse.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1861-2013


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the family's unpublished works donated by Miriam Dayton. Copyright to other unpublished works by the family in the Papers is unknown. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond \"fair use.\" Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

The principal family members represented in the Eastman-Goodale-Dayton Family Papers are sisters Elaine Goodale Eastman (9 Oct 1863-22 Dec 1953) and Dora Read Goodale (29 October 1866-12 Dec 1953). Their mother, Deborah (Dora) Hill Read Goodale (1839-1910), teacher and writer, married Henry S. Goodale (1836 -1906), teacher, farmer, and writer, in 1862. They settled at "Sky Farm" on Fray Mountain in the town of Mt. Washington, Massachusetts, not far from where Henry was born in South Egremont. Henry's father, Chester Goodale, a successful businessman who operated a marble quarry, had settled in the Berkshires around 1820. Besides Elaine and Dora, the Goodales had two other children, Rose Sterling Goodale (Dayton) (1870 -1965) and Robert (1878-?).

Following in the footsteps of their parents, who published poems and essays in local and national publications, both Dora and Elaine were writers from early childhood. Beginning in the late 1870s their poetry was published widely in newspapers and magazines such as St. Nicholas and Scribner's Monthly. They published three books of poetry between 1878 and 1881, achieving wide renown as child-prodigies. Elaine also published Journal of a Farmer's Daughter in 1881. In the early years, Elaine and Dora were educated at home by their mother who had taught school before her marriage, and they were briefly enrolled in a New York City boarding school in 1881.

Henry was not a particularly successful farmer and the resulting financial hardships, coupled with incompatible temperaments, led to the Goodales' separation in 1882. Henry moved to New York City where he managed The Windermere Hotel on 57th Street, an apartment house for financially independent working women.

With the exception of Elaine, who struck out on her own, the rest of the Goodale family left "Sky Farm" and moved to Deborah Read Goodale's hometown of Redding, Connecticut. Along with Deborah's sister, Ella, the family moved into a house owned by the Read family. Rose and Robert attended Redding schools, while Dora, now seventeen, contributed poems and articles to local newspapers and magazines. In 1887 the family moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, where Dora entered Smith College, Rose attended the Burnham School and then Smith, and Robert attended high school. Dora graduated from Smith with a degree in art in 1890. Around this time, Dora became engaged to Thomas Sanford, an engagement that lasted for eight years until it was broken off, at least in part due to Dora's feeling obliged to take care of her mother. Family finances remained tight, and Rose left Smith to teach in Southport, Connecticut. She married Redington Dayton, whom she had met while living in Redding, and joined him there in 1891. The rest of the Northampton Goodales moved to a cottage in Amherst, Massachusetts that Henry had built for his retirement, though he remained in New York. Robert left to attend Harvard in 1896. In 1897 Mrs. Goodale and Dora lost all of their belongings, including letters and manuscripts, in a fire that burned the cottage to the ground. They returned to Redding and Dora taught at the Sanford School, worked as a tutor, and cared for her mother at "Roadside" until Deborah's death in 1910. After his graduation from Harvard, Robert Goodale married Helen Brennan in 1902 and they had a daughter, Margaret, in 1903. Robert built a new house on the site of the cottage that had burned, naming it "Lodestone," and his family lived there for a time with Henry Goodale.

Around the time of the family's departure from "Sky Farm," Elaine was offered a partial scholarship at "Harvard Annex" (Radcliffe), but she was unable to attend because "the required funds were not forthcoming" due to the family's financial circumstances. Instead, in 1883 she accepted a teaching position in the program for Native Americans (newly established in 1878) at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia. In 1885, Elaine toured Sioux Indian Reservations and published articles regarding reservation life. In 1886 she was appointed a day school teacher at White River Camp, Lower Brule Agency, Dakota Territory where she taught for three years, traveling the Sioux reservations during vacation months. In the fall of 1889 she returned east to her family in Northampton, Massachusetts, using it as a home base from which she could write and give paid lectures advocating for education of Indians at day schools on reservations, a system she favored over the removal of students from reservations for boarding school education. Thomas J. Morgan, the commissioner of Indian affairs, who sometimes shared the platform with Elaine, appointed her to the newly-created position, Supervisor of Education in the Dakotas. She headed back to the Dakotas in the spring of 1890 with a letter of introduction, horses, a wagon, and camping equipment, and began her "year on wheels," traveling between over sixty government and missionary schools. She was at the Pine Ridge Agency in December 1890 at the time of the Wounded Knee Massacre, and was one of several volunteer nurses who attempted to care for wounded Lakota Sioux brought to the Episcopal Mission chapel.

During this ordeal, Elaine worked side-by-side with Dr. Charles Eastman (1858 -1939), who had recently arrived at the agency. Eastman (Ohiyesa), a Santee Sioux, was born near Redwood Falls, Minnesota, the last of the five children of Ite Wakanhdi Ota (Many Lightnings) and Wakantankanwin (Great Mystery Woman), also known as Mary Nancy Eastman. After the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862, Ohiyesa was with a band of Sioux that escaped to the Turtle Mountains of Ontario. For years it was assumed that his father had been among the Sioux captured and put to death after the Uprising (his mother had died shortly after his birth), and he was raised by his paternal uncle and grandmother. When Ohiyesa was about fifteen, his father, who had not been executed, but imprisoned and pardoned, reappeared in his life. He had converted to Christianity and taken the name Jakob Eastman, using the English surname of his late wife. While in prison Jakob had become convinced that assimilation offered the only route to survival in a white-dominated culture. He took Ohiyesa to the homestead near Flandreau, South Dakota he had established with his other sons, where Ohiyesa was baptized and given his English name. Charles attended the mission day school at Flandreau for two years and then enrolled at Santee Normal Training School in Nebraska. After two years he transferred to Beloit (Wisconsin) College where he studied for three years. He attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois for another two years. Charles received a scholarship to Dartmouth College, but first attended Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire to make up for some gaps in his previous study. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1887 and Boston University School of Medicine in 1890.

Elaine Goodale and Charles Eastman married in 1891 in New York City, despite the deep disapproval of most of her family. They returned to Pine Ridge where Charles resumed his duties as agency physician. Their first child, Dora Winona, was born at the agency in 1892. (The Eastman's subsequently had five more children, Irene Taluta (1894), Virginia (1896), Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander, Jr.) (1898), Eleanor (1901), and Florence Bascom (1905?) A disagreement with the acting Indian agent at Pine Ridge prompted Charles to resign and the family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where he set up private practice. In June 1894, Charles began working for the YMCA to organize associations among Indians throughout the country. During the five years he held the position, he traveled all over many western states and Canada to organize forty-three associations. In 1898 the family moved to Washington, D.C, where Charles spent a year as legal agent for the Santee Sioux's claims for restoration of government annuities. In 1899 Charles secured a position as outing agent (overseeing the placement of children with white families during the summer) at Carlisle Indian School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Elaine became editor of the school's newspaper, the Red Man. In 1900 Charles returned to the Indian Service as government physician at the Crow Creek Agency in South Dakota. He resigned in 1903 to take another position in the Indian Service that involved assigning surnames to Native Americans to improve their allotment rolls, and after Commissioner Jones was convinced that he did not need to be near the reservations to do the work, the family moved to Amherst, Massachusetts.

Elaine hoped that the move to Amherst would allow her and Charles to achieve some financial stability by writing, and from this point on, it did provide regular, if modest, income. The two of them collaborated on nine books, Elaine contributing extensive editorial assistance (most of which were published under his name), and Elaine published seven of her own. In addition she wrote and spoke on current Indian matters and reviewed books about Indians until her death in 1953. Elaine's memoirs were published after her death as Sister to the Sioux (1978). The books about Charles' life added to his fame, and he was sought after as a lecturer.

During the Amherst years, Charles was often away lecturing or visiting Indian reservations for months at a time and it was left to Elaine to parent six children. Around 1912 the financial situation deteriorated, and the family (Dora Winona and Irene were now away at school at Mount Holyoke College and Northfield Seminary, respectively) moved from a large home on College Street into Lodestone with the permission of Rose Goodale Dayton, to whom Deborah Goodale had left the cottage.

During the summer of 1914 Charles served as director of one of the earliest Boy Scout camps on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, while around the same time, Irene spent two summers as a Campfire Girls counselor in Pittsburgh. In 1915 the Eastmans established their own camp for girls, "School of the Woods," on land rented from a local farmer on Granite Lake in Munsonville, New Hampshire. The next year they renamed the camp "Oahe: The Hill of the Vision," adding a camp for younger boys nearby, "Ohiyesa." Irene, who had become a talented singer and performer, "The Spirit of Oahe," according to a 1924 brochure, died in October 1918, a victim of the flu pandemic of that year. In the immediate wake of her death, Charles began an affair with Henrietta Martindale, a young camp counselor. Martindale gave birth to their daughter, Bonno Hyessa, in 1919. The loss of the Eastmans' much beloved daughter, coupled with the affair, placed great stress on an already troubled marriage. Charles and Elaine separated permanently in 1921. Charles split his time between a cabin he had built in 1928 on Lake Ontario near Desbarats, Ontario and the home of his son, Ohiyesa, Jr. and his wife in Detroit, until his death in 1939. (Ohiyesa, Jr., after serving in the military and graduating from the College of Idaho had married Marion Nutting and worked as an appliance salesman.) Elaine lived in Northampton, briefly in an apartment with her oldest daughter, Dora Winona, but primarily with either Virginia (who married Sterling Whitbeck in 1921) or Eleanor (who had married Ernst Mensel). Elaine was a prolific author during these years, producing two novels, a collection of poems, a biography, an autobiographical sketch; and numerous essays, newspaper articles, poems, letters to the editor, and book reviews. She was also active in local chapters of the Women's Club of America, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the League of Women Voters, as well as the Northampton Motion Picture Council.

Dora stayed on in Redding until 1929 when she became a staff member, then Director, of Uplands Sanatorium, Pleasant Hill, Tennessee. She worked closely with the director, Dr. May Cravath Wharton, to promote the mission of the sanatorium "to not simply heal disease but to establish habits of health and of thought, and send its patients out fortified for living a more victorious life." Dora was hospital worker and secretary, and she also used her writing skills publishing a newsletter and pamphlets to increase the hospital's visibility, especially among potential donors. Throughout this period Dora continued to publish poems, short stories, and essays on Appalachian themes in newspapers and magazines. Her book of verse, Mountain Dooryards, was published in 1941. She remained at the Sanatorium until deteriorating health forced her to move in with her brother, Robert, in Virginia, and finally to a nursing home.

Elaine Goodale Eastman died on 22 December 1953 in Shady Lawn nursing home in Hadley, Massachusetts ten days after her sister Dora had died in a Virginia nursing home. Rose Goodale Dayton died in 1965 in Amherst, Massachusetts.


8.354 linear feet (17 containers)


Author; Teacher; Social reformer; Poets; Farmer. Principal family members represented in the papers are Henry S. Goodale (farmer and writer in Southern Berkshires near Pittsfield, MA); his wife, Deborah Hill Read Goodale (writer); three sisters: Dora Read Goodale, Elaine Goodale [Eastman] (writer, teacher, poet), and Rose Sterling Goodale [Dayton] (writer, poet, and director of Uplands Sanitarium) and their families. The bulk of the papers are those of Elaine Goodale Eastman and her husband Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman (a Santee Sioux) and include correspondence, writings, photographs and organizations related to Indians of North America. Of particular interest are photographs of South Dakota in the 1890s, particularly of Native Americans, Pine Ridge Agency and school where she taught and he was a physician, and of the Wounded Knee massacre by American troops. The collection also includes letters of Charles Eastman, a substantial amount of writings and correspondence of Dora Read Goodale and Elaine Goodale Eastman, and many of Charles Eastman's published writings.


This collection is organized into six series:


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Elaine Goodale Eastman donated her Papers to the Sophia Smith Collection from 1950 to 1952. Miriam Dayton made significant additions to the collection in 1999 and 2002. Courtship letters of Rose and Redington Dayton were given to the SSC by Deborah Read Dayton Scoblick in 2002.

Additional materials were purchased from Diane Bellisario in 2010.

Related Materials

Additional papers related to Elaine and Charles Eastman and other family members are housed at Jones Library, Amherst, Mass.; Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass.; Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; and Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia. Papers of Henrietta Martindale are in the Katherine Martindale Family Papers, Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin--La Crosse Area Research Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin.


The Life of Elaine Goodale Eastman by Theodore D. Sargent (2005)
"The Estrangement of Charles Eastman and Elaine Goodale Eastman" by Theodore D. Sargent and Raymond Wilson, South Dakota History, Vol. 40 No. 3 (Fall 2010)
"Finding Oneself through a Cause: Elaine Goodale Eastman and Indian Reform in the 1880s," by Ruth Anne Alexander, South Dakota History, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring 1992)
Ohiyesa: Charles Eastman, Santee Sioux by Raymond Wilson (1983)

Processing Information

Processed by Amy Hague, 2011

Eastman-Goodale-Dayton family papers
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Amy Hague.
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Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:21-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2022-03-03: Integrated description of oversized materials

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063