B. February 20, 1856, Castleblakeney, Ireland
D. May 16, 1915, Hamilton, Ontario
Kit Coleman was the first accredited female war correspondent in the world. Born Catherine Ferguson, Kathleen was married to a wealthy Irishman, with whom she had one child. When both her husband and child died, leaving Kathleen without prospects, she decided to start fresh in Canada. She remarried and had two children, but her marriage was not pleasant. She later divorced her husband, which left Kathleen in need of a way to solely provide for her family. In 1898, she turned to journalism.
Kathleen began her career with freelance work, but would later move on to writing the Women’s Page for the Toronto Mail, entitled “Women’s Kingdom.” While in this position she pushed the boundaries of expectation for women’s pages at the time. She held a firm belief that women should be kept up to date in current events. She also advocated for pay equity and helped establish the Canadian Women’s Press Club.
Despite these beliefs, she was not outspoken on the women’s movement and would not have considered herself a feminist. There was a fine line in women’s journalism and her first priority was keeping her job to provide for her family.
Nonetheless, Kathleen managed to break down barriers and forged a path for women as one of the world’s first female journalists. She was adventurous and fiesty, and this spirit allowed her the opportunity to travel to Cuba to cover the Spanish-American War of 1898, making her the first woman in the world to be an accredited war correspondent.