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Themes - Activism

June Callwood

Photograph of June Callwood

Born in Chatham, Ontario on June 2, 1924
Died in Toronto, Ontario on April 14, 2007

Journalist, social activist

Source


June Callwood was born in Chatham, Ontario in 1924 and raised primarily in the village of Belle River. The elder of two daughters, she had a somewhat unstable family life that was greatly compensated for by her grandparents, especially her grandfather Callwood's faith in her abilities. His faith was so great that it was a long time before she realized that women are often discriminated against.

A bright student who was editor of her school newspaper, the Brantford Collegiate Grumbler, she had not seriously considered a career in journalism. After leaving school early, her first job was at the Brantford Expositor, where she learned the basics of reporting. A move to Toronto and a reporting job at the Globe and Mail came in 1942. Marriage to fellow journalist Trent Frayne, in 1944, followed but Callwood retained her single name since the Globe did not hire married women. As their four children were born, June Callwood began her prolific freelance career, writing magazine pieces, many of them for Maclean's magazine.

Her first book, A Woman Doctor Looks at Life and Love, basically a ghostwritten effort was published in 1957. A serious depression in the 1950s led her to the research that produced her first book under her own name, Love, Hate, Fear and Anger. The publishing contacts Callwood made for that work led to her ghostwriting books on the lives of several prominent Americans including Charles Mayo, Otto Preminger and Barbara Walters.

Callwood's journalism spilled beyond print to television when, from 1975 to 1978, she hosted the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) program, In Touch. More recently, she has acted as interviewer on VisionTV's National Treasures and has compiled a number of these interviews into a book entitled June Callwood's National Treasures. Caregiving with June Callwood is a recent series of television programs the journalist co-hosted to provide assistance to the many people charged with providing care for their parents, spouse or others.

Whether in print or another medium, June Callwood's journalism career has been marked by compassion and a strong concern for social justice, especially on issues affecting children and women. She regards herself as a latecomer to feminism and claims not to write on issues she is involved in, both for her own sake and that of others. Despite her busy writing life, she has found time to found or co-found over 50 social action organizations. These include Digger House, a youth hostel; Nellie's hostel for women; Jessie's, a centre for teenage parents; Casey House Hospice for those with AIDS; PEN Canada; the Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation and Feminists Against Censorship. This extensive volunteer work has been recognized by many honours including the Order of Canada which she received in 1986.

Ms. Callwood is proud to call herself a journalist as it is a career about communications and relationships. The latter, whether in her family or with friends, remain the most important thing in life to her and have provided solace during painful times, such as following the death of her youngest child in 1982 and during the serious illnesses of others. Charges of racism made against her in regard to her board work at Nellie's, in 1992, while never proven, remain hurtful.

While her writing and public speaking activities take up most of her time, in recent years she has learned how to fly glider aircraft and finds this to be an exhilarating release from her working life.

Resources

Callwood, June. — "Dancing in the sky". — Toronto life. — Vol. 32, no. 3 (March 1998). — P. 59-60, 62+

Callwood, June. — Emma : Canada's unlikely spy. — Toronto : Stoddart, 1984. — 277 p.

Callwood, June. — "Is there radicalization after 40?" — Maclean's. — Vol. 86, no. 1 (January 1973). — P. 32-33, 45-46+

Callwood, June. — June Callwood's national treasures. — Toronto : Stoddart/Vision TV, 1994. — 260 p.

Callwood, June. — Portrait of Canada. — Garden City, NY : Doubleday, 1981. — 378 p.

Callwood, June. — "The right to own yourself". — Canadian dimension. — Vol. 7, no. 3 (August-September 1970). — P. 4-5

Callwood, June. — Twelve weeks in spring. — Toronto : Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1986. — 312 p.

Callwood, June. — Trial without end. — Toronto : Knopf, 1995. — 401 p.

Callwood, June. — "A village childhood". — Canadian living. — Vol. 14, no. 4 (April 1989). — P. 88-89, 91-92

Dewar, Elaine. — "Wrongful dismissal". — Toronto life. — Vol. 27, no. 4 (March 1993). — P. 32-38, 40+

Fraser, Sylvia. — "June Callwood on herself". — Chatelaine. — Vol. 48, no. 12 (December 1975). — P 46-47, 92+

Freedman, Adele. — "White woman's burden". — Saturday night. — Vol. 108, no. 3 (April 1993). — P. 40-44, 74+

Martin, Sandra. "June Callwood, Writer, Activist and Broadcaster 1924-2007." Globe and Mail. (April 16, 2007), p. S11.

Oughton, John. — "Only connect". — Books in Canada. — Vol. 17, no. 6 (August-September 1988). — P. 17-19

Poulton, Terry. — "Repression of speech Canada's real tradition". — Maclean's. — Vol. 93, no. 52 (December 29, 1980). — P. 10, 12

Slopen, Beverley. — "Callwood's 10-year conundrum and trade secrets in Banff". — Quill & quire. — Vol. 47, no. 5 (May 1981). — P. 22

Sullivan, Ann. — "Callwood urges journalists to get involved in causes". — Bulletin (CAJ). — Vol. 47 (May 1992). — P. 5

Witts, Susan. — "June Callwood: 'I am a journalist'". — Canadian author. — Vol. 69, no. 1 (Fall 1993). — P. 27-28

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