Kathleen Blake “Kit” Coleman (née Ferguson), journalist, war correspondent (born 20 February 1856 in Castleblakeney, Ireland; died 16 May 1915 in Hamilton, Ontario). "Kit of the Mail" was the first woman journalist in Canada to be in charge of her own section of a Canadian newspaper. She was also North America’s first accredited female war correspondent, the first president of the Canadian Women’s Press Club, and the first Canadian woman with a syndicated column. The Royal Canadian Mint issued a commemorative silver dollar in her honour in 2023.
Early Life and Career
Coleman was cynical about love, for her parents had married her off to an elderly Irishman when she was 16. Widowed at 20, she immigrated to Canada in 1884 and worked as a secretary. After separating from her second husband (who was an alcoholic and probably a bigamist as well), she turned to journalism to support her two children. The name Coleman comes from her third husband, Theobald Coleman.
In the 1880s and 1890s, Coleman ran a seven-column page called "Woman's Kingdom" in the Toronto Mail. The page was so outspoken that it attracted a wide following, including Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier. Coleman tackled anything that interested her, including political commentary, theatre criticism, fashion notes, and recipes. One of her most popular features was "Advice to the Lovelorn." She was concerned with social justice issues and the welfare of people in poverty, and also reported on those issues in other cities. In 1897, she travelled to England to cover Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Coleman was one of the first women in the world to become an accredited war correspondent. in 1898, she went to Cuba to report on the Spanish-American War. She worked for the Mail until 1911. After that, she sold "Kit's Column" to dozens of newspapers across the country.
In July 2023, The Royal Canadian Mint issued a commemorative silver dollar in honour of the pioneering journalist. Designed by artist Pandora Young, it was issued as part of the 2023 Fine Silver Proof Set.