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Helena Jane Coleman 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., Helen Gray Cone, 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, and 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.