Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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COLLINS, JOSEPH EDMUND, newspaper publisher and editor; b. Placentia, Nfld, 22 Oct 1855, s/o William Joseph Collins and Eleanor O'Reilly; m. 1880, Gertrude Anna Murphy, of Fredericton; d. New York City, 23 Feb 1892.

J. Edmund Collins attended school in his native province and served for a short time in the Newfoundland Mounted Police before migrating to New Brunswick in 1874. He taught school at Queensbury, York Co., studied law in Fredericton, and founded the weekly Star newspaper there in 1878. This paper was discontinued when he moved to Chatham in 1880 and began to issue the weekly North Star out of the former Gleaner office. While he was engaged in this work his literary talents and ambitions attracted the attention of Charles G. D. Roberts, principal of the Chatham Grammar School, and the two young men proved to be of help to one another in the launching of their respective literary careers.

Collins left the Miramichi in 1881 to be an editor at the Globe in Toronto. Between 1883 and 1886 he published two political biographies, including the first book-length study of Sir John A. Macdonald, and four novels. He then became an editor in New York, but by this time he was a chronic alcoholic. His addiction led to the breakup of his marriage in 1889 and to his death in 1893, at age thirty-six.


[b/d] DCB [m] Telegraph 29 Jul 1880 / Advocate 4 Aug 1880, 26 Jul 1882, 25 Sep 1889, 9 Mar 1892; Cyclo. Can. Biog., 1886