Kit Watkins “One of the Boys”

Kit's Gossip





Back to Women’s Stories

Performed by Elizabeth Neily

When the Spanish American War broke out in 1898, Kathleen Blake Watkins (later Coleman) was determined to go to Cuba with the troops. She managed to get accreditation as a war correspondent from Secretary of War General Alger, but actually getting to Cuba was another story and an adventure to boot!

Watkins was the women’s editor of the Toronto Mail and Empire. Born in Ireland, Kit immigrated to Canada, where she became one of the foremost journalists of the her time. In her dispatches from the seat of war, she explains what Tampa, Florida was like in 1898, and all the problems that backwater towns like this endured when faced with an influx of thousands of soldiers and supplies headed for Cuba. She shares her insights and her nightmares as she picked her way through war-torn Cuba and the along the blood soaked decks of the U.S. transport carrying the dying home.

It is awful. It changes one’s whole view of things. It sobers and saddens, inexpressibly saddens one. And out in the world, men are greedy for money, for fame, for power. Incredible, incredible in the face of such suffering as I saw in Cuba. the poor little pomp of money and power and fame! death the end of it all—death that can come to poor humanity in such awful form. Over there in America, in Spain, men, nobles and commoners alike, all striving after the cheap little vanities, all spreading peacocks’ tails in the sun. Here in Santiago, men, nobles and commoners alike, dying in filth and stench, and uttermost squalor; lying out there on the hills for the buzzard and land crab to feed upon. There was heartbreak in the thought of it, in the sight of all the hopeless suffering. Very small and cheap and poor in spite of our peacocks’ feathers. – Kit

(Mature Audiences)

Time: 45 minutes plus 15 minutes Q & A
Performance Fee: $150.00
Additional charge for travel, accommodation, and meals over 60 miles.