Biographical Sketch of Caroline Headley Henry

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Caroline Headley Henry (Mrs. Thomas S.), 1875 - 1910

By Lisa Hendrickson, Independent Historian

Caroline Headley was born February 16, 1875, in Wisconsin. Known as Carrie, she was a good student and graduated from the law department of New York University. She was one of the first women to gain a law degree. Throughout her life she kept up with her study of law, doing work with the Legal Aid Society and drawing up wills. She also served as president of the New Jersey Legal Aid Society. On January 1, 1881, she married Thomas Soden Henry, who was born in New York and had graduated from New York University Law School. They had a daughter they named Emilie Caroline Henry. Unfortunately, Emilie passed away in 1899 at the age of fourteen. The family lived in Newark at 1177 Broad Street and also had a summer home in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Thomas S. Henry was a successful lawyer and entered into New Jersey politics as a member of the State Legislature in 1875, where he served two terms. He was appointed a judge of the Second Judicial District Court and served in that capacity for 16 years. After stepping down from the bench, he continued with his law practice. He died in March of 1934 in Newark and is buried at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in New Jersey.

Active in the community of Newark, Mrs. Henry founded the Lyric Club and was its president. Additionally, she was a member and president of the Philitschipoma Club and a member of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Newark.

Mrs. Henry was very active in the woman suffrage movement. She was elected the first vice-president of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Club (NJSFWC) in October of 1906 and served in that capacity through April 1909. In October of 1907, she was elected a delegate to attend the 1908 biennial meeting of the General Federation of Women's Clubs held in Boston. She ran for president of the NJFWC against Mrs. Frank A. Pattison and suffered a surprise defeat in May of 1909. Like many other suffragists, she was involved with several suffrage organizations. Mrs. Thomas served as the New Jersey Equal Franchise Society's (NJEFS) first president. The NJEFS was created in conjunction with the Equal Franchise Society started in New York by Mrs. Clarence H. Mackay. New Jersey was granted the first tributary branch of this New York organization in Castle Point, Hoboken, in early 1910.

Mrs. Henry died on October 13, 1910 at her summer home in Asbury Park, New Jersey, after a bout with pneumonia, and is buried in Newark. She was 57 years old. She was one of the most prominent club-women in the state of New Jersey, holding many executive positions. She was eulogized at the November 1910 convention of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association (NJWSA) in a resolution that said, “Resolved, That in the death of Mrs. Thomas S. Henry, the suffrage cause in the State has lost an Efficient leader. As president of our sister state association and as an active worker along all lines tending towards the legal and moral betterment of women, Mrs. Henry has endeared herself not only to her coworkers but to all who have come under her genial and wholesome influence. The N. J. W. S. A. desire to show in this way its appreciation of Mrs. Henry's life and work.”

Sources:

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Ida Husted Harper, Matilda Joslyn Gage, History of Woman Suffrage, Volume 6, (New York: J.J. Little & Ives, 1920), pg. 416 [LINK]

“New Jersey Federation of Woman's Clubs is ready for Spring Meeting,” The Courier-News, May 1, 1906, pg. 8.

“Plea for Animals," Trenton Evening Times, October 28, 1907, pg. 3.

“Trenton Woman named as Head," Trenton Evening Times, October 8, 1908, pg. 10.

“Mrs. F. A. Pattison heads Women's Clubs," Central New Jersey Home News, May 10, 1909, pg. 1.

“New State Society For Suffragists," Central New Jersey Home News, January 19, 1910, pg. 2.

“Mrs. Henry, Noted Clubwoman, Dead," Asbury Park Press, October 14, 1910, pg. 1.

“Final Session of Convention," Courier-News (Somerville, NJ), November 3, 1910, pg. 4.

“Judge T.S. Henry Dead at 86 Years," Courier-News (Somerville, NJ), March 19, 1934, pg. 5.

Ancestry.com:

  • Federal Census 1900, 1910
  • US Find a Grave Index 1600-current
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