Memorable Manitobans: Ruth Jacobs Cohen Collie (1888-1936)
Born at Cambridgeshire, England in 1888, daughter of I. W. Jacobs, she married E. Arakie Cohen while he was visiting England and returned with him to Winnipeg. They had one son, Ralph. After her husband’s death in 1919, she was forced to seek employment to support herself and her son. Her friends encouraged her to submit her writing for publication, which led to a successful career as a writer which continued to the time of her death. Writing under the pen names “Sheila Rand” or “Wilhelmina Stitch”, she had poetry and stories published in the Winnipeg Tribune and the Winnipeg Telegram. In time, she became, in the words an obituary, “one of the best-known women writers in the British Empire”.
While living in Winnipeg, she worked for, and became close friends with, university professor Reginald Buller. He believed that she had telepathic powers and carried out experiments, largely without success, to test them.
She later remarried to Scottish physician Frank K. Collie and moved with him to London, England where she died on 6 March 1936.
“E. A. Cohen, local barrister, is dead”, newspaper clipping dated 11 March 1919. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B7]
“Winnipeg woman writer, who won Empire renown, is dead in London home”, Winnipeg Tribune, 6 March 1936, page 9.
Reginald Buller: The Poet-Scientist of Mushroom City by Gordon Goldsborough, Manitoba History, Number 47, Spring/Summer 2004.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 October 2011
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