Seth and Mary Eastman

Seth And Mary Eastman

Seth Eastman (1808–1875) and his second wife Mary Henderson Eastman (1818 – 24 February 1887) were instrumental in recording Native American life. Eastman was an artist and West Point graduate who served in the US Army, first as a mapmaker and illustrator. He had two tours at Fort Snelling, Minnesota Territory; during the second, extended tour he was commanding officer of the fort. During these years, he painted many studies of Native American life. He was notable for the quality of his hundreds of illustrations for Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's six-volume study on Indian Tribes of the United States (1851–1857), commissioned by the US Congress. From their time at Fort Snelling, Mary Henderson Eastman wrote a book about Dakota Sioux life and culture, which Seth Eastman illustrated.

When the Eastmans were based in Washington, DC before the American Civil War, Mary entered the literary "lists" and wrote the bestselling Aunt Phillis's Cabin: or, Southern Life As It Is (1852). Defending slaveholders, she responded as a Southern planter to Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery work. Her novel was one of the most widely read anti-Tom novels and a commercial success, selling 20,000–30,000 copies.

Having retired as a Union brigadier general for disability during the American Civil War, Seth Eastman was reactivated when commissioned by Congress to make several paintings for the US Capitol. Between 1867 and 1869, he painted a series of nine scenes of American Indian life for the House Committee on Indian Affairs. In 1870 Congress commissioned Eastman to create a series of 17 paintings of important U.S. fortifications, to be hung in the meeting rooms of the House Committee on Military Affairs. He completed the paintings in 1875.

Read more about Seth And Mary EastmanEarly Life and Education, Career, Marriage and Family, Mary Henderson, See Also

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