About Mary Eastman (1859–1927)
In 1917, Mary Eastman ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Grand Rapids Library Commission. She received 3,362 votes, a respectable turnout, but not enough to win.
Eastman was born in Dewitt, Michigan in 1859. In 1879, she graduated from the Michigan State Normal School with an education that would prepare her well for a future career as the mistress of her own private school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1902, Eastman inherited the directorship of her school from the Reverend I. P. Powell after serving as his assistant for nine years. Eastman operated the school until at least 1918. When she registered for war service with the Grand Rapids Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, the registrar noted Eastman’s “wonderful private school.”
In addition to her work at the school, Eastman was involved in the women’s club movement in Grand Rapids. She was an active member of the Parliamentary Law Club and the Grand Rapids Ladies’ Literary Club, where she led a short story class in 1903.
Although Eastman does not seem to have been the most active advocate for the women’s suffrage movement, her name does appear on a 1913 advertisement placed in the Grand Rapids Herald that lists Grand Rapids women in favor of voting rights for women.
Political Office: Library Commission
Election Year: 1917
Party Affiliation: Nonpartisan race
Full Name: Mary Allida Strickland Eastman
Life Dates: January 3, 1859–February 21, 1927
Birthplace: DeWitt Township, Clinton County, Michigan
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Educator, Private School Owner and Operator
Party Affiliation: Unknown
Social Reform Activism: Women’s Suffrage, Women’s Clubs, Education
“Attention Voters: Michigan Women DO Want the Ballot.” Grand Rapids Herald, April 7, 1913.
Defense card for Mary Allida Eastman. 2 May 1918, 174-6-237. Women’s Defense Cards Collection. Grand Rapids Public Library Digital Collections, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“For Club Season: Woman’s Organizations Have Laid Out Programs.” Grand Rapids Press, September 11, 1905.
“Miss Chalmers Loses in Race for Board Seat.” Grand Rapids Press, April 3, 1917.
“Notice.” Grand Rapids Herald, August 24, 1902.
“Parliamentary Club.” Grand Rapids Herald, June 5, 1910.
“Parliamentary Law Club.” Grand Rapids Herald, February 10, 1911.
“Seen and Heard in Clubland.” Grand Rapids Press, June 13, 1903.