Helen Ziegler-Cumming

Helen Cumming was born in Windsor, Ontario on October 17, 1902 to parents Robert and Rose (nee Peillon) Cumming. As a young woman, she was involved in local theatre, aHelen Cumming member of the I.O.D.E. and an advocate for numerous charities. As an active member of the community, Miss Cumming began her career at the Windsor Daily Star, covering social events, and items of interest to local woman. Quickly she became the Assistant Women’s Editor.

Her articles for the Windsor Daily Star were well received. Miss Cumming was then hired as Canadian correspondent to the Detroit Free Press. A short time later, Miss Cumming was promoted as London correspondent for the Detroit Free Press.

While living in England, Miss Cumming also took on the position of Editor for the English women’s magazine, “Miss Modern”. However, with advent of World War II the magazine was discontinued. Even so, Miss Cumming refused to leave England and became an eyewitness to the bombings of London. This allowed her to observe the daily life of women in London amidst the stress and terror of war. Inspired by their efforts, she wrote a piece about how the roles of women had changed in the London community. Not only did they sew or run canteens for the thousands of soldiers that came to London weekly, but they also became firefighters, took over the nation’s farms and salvaged bombed out buildings. This article was the first to examine the activities and challenges women faced daily during the war, inspiring newspapers to publish more work by Miss. Cumming.

Miss Cumming left London in late 1940, moving to New York City. She became an accomplished journalist, editor, and newspaper correspondent. She also wrote articles on, travel, economics and the experiences of the British Home Children. Her work appeared in a number of leading publications including The New York Times, Saturday Evening Post, Herald Tribune, Mademoiselle and Vogue. She later became a successful lecturer, sharing the inspiring story about the women of London.

In 1955, Helen married Joseph Ziegler and they resided in Manhattan until her death on November 25 at age 96. She is buried with her family at Windsor Grove Cemetery.

Helen Cumming’s stories were on exhibit in Washington, D.C. at the American Museum for Women. A scrapbook of this exhibit and further information about Helen Cumming is available at the Local History Branch of Windsor Public Library, located at 3312 Sandwich St.


Assumption Old Boys and Their Friends at Annual Dance (November 11, 1931) The Border Cities Star,  p.5

Ann Watkins Inc. (March, 2022)  “Helen Cumming: This Too, Is London!” p.2

Cumming, H. (1941, July 13). Victoria Would Be Surprised The New York Times Magazine, Section 7