In 1884, a plucky Irish widow named Kathleen Willis, steamed towards a new life in Toronto. Educated and literary, her fortunes were battered by a bad marriage and responsibility for two children. Desperate for work, “Kit” took on house cleaning and submitted stories to local magazines. Soon she had a featured column in the Daily Mail, and was an instant sensation.
While Woman’s Kingdom was filled with the required fashion and domestic trivia, Kit introduced politics and culture, and penned some of the most searing social commentary on wife abuse and women’s working conditions. She also manoeuvered her way into Cuba during the Spanish American War of 1898, becoming the world’s first accredited woman war correspondent. Six years later, she helped found the Canadian Woman’s Press Club.
Kit married Dr. Theobald Coleman later in life. In 1915, Kit Coleman died of pneumonia and Canada mourned the passsing of a pioneering journalist and advocate for social justice.