Queer Places:
Mount Pleasant Cemetery Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Lewis Memorial Park Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA

Helen Adams Coleman (June 7, 1884 – September 30, 1949) was the daughter of Rufus Adams Coleman (1856–1938) and Clara Elma Fleury (1861–1951). She was the niece of Helena Coleman with whom she lived in Toronto.

Rufus Adams Coleman was an attorney and conveyancer in Toronto. He disappeared from the lives of his wife and daughters. Mrs. Coleman's parents, the Fleurys, were from Aurora, Ontario. Mrs. Coleman and her daughters Isabel Fleury (1883–1939), Mary Augusta (1886–1976), and Helen lived for a time in Toronto, then Germany. Isabel and Mary studied music extensively in Leipzig; Mrs. Coleman was an accomplished pianist and her daughter Mary a violinist. The family then moved to Berlin, then to Switzerland, after which they moved to England during World War I. They also seem to have lived in France and Italy. Mrs. Coleman and Mary Augusta lived in Europe for over 25 years. Isabel returned to the U.S. to work as a governess and was living in Asheville when her mother and sisters moved there in 1923. Mary Augusta and Isabel both taught in Asheville and were very active in upper-class social circles to which they belonged. Helen remained in Canada and may have been in the Weston Sanatorium, from a reference in a letter written by Isabel.

In a 1911 letter, Ethelwyn Wetherald explains the sleeping arrangements at Pinehurst Island (one of the Thousand Islands near Kingston, Ontario, became a gathering retreat for women writers): I had the most charming little front bedroom, with a wide open door giving on a balcony overlooking the river. On one side of me was H.C.’s room and on the other Marjorie Pickthall’s, and as the partitions were thin varnished boards reaching about halfway up, we three had most delightful talks in the early morning and while dressing. M.P. is lovely in soul and body–pure undiluted genius. She is very dear to me and I can never be grateful enough for this opportunity of knowing her. Wetherald’s description of Marjorie Pickthall suggests the respect and admiration she felt toward her. The link between Pickthall and Helena Coleman is explained by Alex Kizuk: “At the University of Toronto, Pickthall attracted the friendship and encouragement of the older poet Helena Coleman”. In a separate article, Pickthall is described as an “intimate friend” of Helen Coleman, niece of Helena Coleman. The use of the term “intimate friend” by early Canadian critics appears to have been their coded way of intimating loving relationships between women. Wetherald herself has been suggested was in an intimate friendship with Helena Coleman.


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