Caroline Rémy de Guebhard, also popularly known as Séverine, was a French journalist, lecturer, and feminist. She was, in her time, “the most famous journalist in the world, who was the first French woman to run a newspaper and to earn a living as a regularly featured columnist in major newspapers”.
She was born on April 27, 1855 in Paris where she later fled from during the Commune with her parents. When she was sixteen she married Antoine Henri Montrobert and had a daughter but later divorced him and had a son with Adrien Guebhard in 1880 whom she married five years later… During this year (1880), Séverine met Jules Vallès who trained her as a journalist. A year after their meeting, Séverine attempted suicide, most likely due to the stress on becoming a journalist. However, two years after this incident, Séverine and Vallès finally launched their own newspaper together called Le Cri du Peuple (Cry of the People) successfully.
However, their collaboration did not last long because two years after the launch, Jules had fallen ill and decided to leave the newspaper completely in Séverine’s hands. Despite this situation, Le Cri du Peuple only lasted two more years (1888) because of Jules Bazile, who was a French journalist, socialist, and politician, who caused Séverine to abandon Le Cri du Peuple. Luckily, this was not the end of the world for Séverine because she managed to secure a position at La Fronde (a feminist newspaper) in which she wrote about women’s emancipation and liberty. With this occupation, it also opened up many opportunities that she participated in. For example, in 1890, she was given the chance to descend into a mine to disclose a disaster and even got sent by Le Figuro (French daily newspaper) to travel to Rome and sit down with Pope Leo XIII. Her interview, in which Pope Leo XIII condemned anti-Semitism, was published on August 4, 1892.
Not only was Séverine a writer for newspapers, but she also made a big impact for women as “the first female journalist to earn a living with her pen” with her strong feminist opinions of political rights. She was especially remembered for this achievement in spite of the amount of engagement and participation she put into peace and independence for women's causes. Although she is known best for her writing, she didn’t always express her feminist thoughts and ideas through paper. For example, in 1919, she spoke at a women's reception for President Woodrow Wilson. Séverine was also a supporter of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and later joined the French Communist Party in 1921. However, she left a couple years later to remain loyal and maintain her membership for the Human Rights League. Unfortunately, she died in 1929 from uremia in her home in Oise, Northern France. In 1927, she gave her last speech at a rally that was protesting a death sentence. In 1929, she posted her last article. She requested her own epitaph which reads: “I am Séverine, nothing but Séverine, an isolated and independent woman".