Helena Coleman

Fonds number:
Title: Helena Coleman
Dates of Material:
120.5 cm of textual records
90 photographs: b&w
6 photographs: 35 mm b&w negatives
3 photographs: 8x14.5 cm b&w negatives
1 photograph: 6x11 cm b&w negative
Biographical sketch

Helena Jane Coleman (1860–1953) was a music teacher, poet and writer. She was born in Newcastle, near the Bay of Quinte, Ontario, the daughter of Francis Coleman and Emmeline Maria Adams, the sister of Albert Evander and Arthur Philemon Coleman. She resided with her brother, A.P. Coleman, in Toronto and spent summer holidays at their cottage in the Thousand Islands (“Pinehurst”). She died, unmarried, in Toronto.

Coleman was educated at Ontario Ladies’ College, Whitby, where she received the Gold Medal in Music, and became the Head of its Music Department (1880–1892). She took a one-year leave of absence to pursue post-graduate studies in music in Berlin, Germany.

Coleman contributed poems to a large number of Canadian and American journals. She was a member of the Author’s Society, the Canadian Author’s Association, the Rose Society, and the University Women’s Club in Toronto. She did not publish under her own name until the release of Songs and Sonnets in 1906. Her short stories and articles continued to appear under pseudonyms long afterwards.

Pseudonyms used included:

  • Caleb Black
  • Catherine G. Brown
  • H.C.
  • H.S.C.
  • Hollis Cattwin
  • L.D. Clark
  • Winifred Cotter
  • Winnifred Cotter
  • A.T. Cottingham
  • Winnifred Ford
  • C.H.
  • Mrs. R.H. Hudson
  • Hollis Hume
  • Shadwell Jones
  • Annie Lloyd
  • M.D. Merrivale
  • Helen Saxon
  • Helen A. Saxon
  • Emily A. Sykes
  • Gwendolen Woodworth

She is also presumed to have used the following pseudonyms:

  • Frances Alexander
  • C.D.
  • Ralph Hodgson
  • F.G. Pearson
  • Maxwell Wallace
  • Dorothea West

She contributed to the following journals:

  • Appleton’s Magazine
  • Associated Sunday Magazine
  • Atlantic Monthly
  • The Bellman
  • Bob Taylor’s Magazine
  • Booklover’s Magazine
  • Canadian Courier
  • Canadian Magazine
  • Canadian Good Housekeeping
  • Canadian Public Health Journal
  • The Churchman (New York)
  • Collier’s
  • Cosmopolitan
  • The Delineator
  • The Editor: A Journal of Information for Writers
  • Evening Post (New York)
  • The Globe
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Gunter’s Magazine
  • Hampton’s Harper’s Bazaar
  • Harper’s Weekly
  • Independent
  • The Interior
  • Ladies’ Home Journal
  • Ladies’ Review
  • Ladies’ World
  • Leslie’s Weekly
  • Lippincott’s Magazine
  • Literary Digest
  • Mail and Empire
  • The Metropolitan Magazine
  • Modern Women
  • National Home Journal
  • The National Monthly
  • The New Age
  • New England Magazine
  • New Idea
  • Northwest Magazine
  • Pearson’s Magazine
  • The Pictorial Review
  • The Pilgrim
  • The Presbyterian
  • Progress
  • The Prospector
  • Puck’s Magazine
  • The Reader Magazine
  • Red Book
  • Saturday Evening Post
  • Saturday Night
  • The Smart Set
  • Smith’s Magazine
  • Spare Moments
  • Star Weekly
  • Tom Watson’s Magazine
  • Twentieth Century Home
  • The University Magazine (Montreal)
  • Willison’s
  • Women’s Home Companion

Her publications of poetry include:

  • Songs and Sonnets (1906)
  • Marching Men (1917)
  • Songs (1937)

Her collection of short stories Sheila and Others: the Simple Annals of an Unromantic Household (1920) was published under the pseudonym of Winifred Cotter.

Custodial history

The custodial history of the material acquired from Victoria University Archives and from the University of Auckland is unknown.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of Helena Coleman’s records pertaining to her activities as a poet and writer, and to her personal life. The fonds consists of the following series:

The fonds is arranged in seven series:

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.


The fonds is stored in 10 boxes.

Immediate source of acquisition

Most of the material was acquired from Helena Coleman at an unknown date; the correspondence between Helena Coleman and several members of the "Allen" family (Richard and Marian Allen, Maria Orme Allen, Jessie and Annie Allen) was acquired from Hugh A.J. Allen in 1987; the material in Box 10, File 1–9 was acquired from Victoria University Archives in 1988; the material in Box 6, File 148b and Box 10, File 10 was acquired from the University of Auckland in 1988.

Language of material


Access restrictions

Restrictions on access: No restrictions on access.

Finding aids

See “Scope and Content” for Series level descriptions


No further accruals are expected.

Access points

Provenance access points: Coleman, A.P. (Arthur Philemon), 1852–1939

General notes

Penn Libraries A Celebration of Women Writers digital collection:
A biography of Helena Coleman
Links to a selection of Coleman’s poems

Related special collections at Victoria University Library