Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Carrie E. Kent, 1842-1918

By Nitra Eastby, senior library associate: Roanoke College, Salem, VA

Teacher and women's rights advocate

Carrie E. Kent, born Caroline Elizabeth Gove, was born in Weare, New Hampshire on March 22, 1842 to parents William Gove and Sarah Ann Breed. Carrie became a school teacher, teaching for years in both Weare, New Hampshire, and later in Maryland. On January 24, 1878, Carrie married Reverend Alexander Kent. By 1880, Carrie was a stay at home mother with a one-year old, Alexander William, and pregnant with her second son, Archibald. In 1984, Carrie gave birth to her third child, Caroline Fay. Carrie resumed teaching after the birth of her third child, and rose to the position of superintendent. During this time, she, along with eight other superintendents within Washington, D.C. drafted a bill to prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors. In 1891 Alexander, initially a pastor of the Church of Our Father, started The People's Church, which was not tied to any existing denomination. Carrie had an active role in the church community, hosting meetings of The Young People's Union of the church within her and Alexander's home.

Carrie devoted her time to not only supporting the People's Church, but also holding leadership roles the District of Columbia Federation of Women's Clubs and the District of Columbia State Equal Suffrage Association. In 1895-1896, and later in 1900, Carrie was president of the District of Columbia Federation of Women's Clubs. During her time, the branch had drafted a bill, later known as the Married Woman's Property Rights Act, which was passed by Congress on June 1, 1896. This bill gave married women the right to own property independent of their husbands, the right to conduct business in their own names, and gave more balance to parental rights over children amongst husbands and wives. Additionally, the federation advocated for a postal savings bank system.

In 1903, Carrie served as the state editor for The Club Woman, the official publication of the GFWC, the Massachusetts State Federation, and the United Daughters of 1812. During this time, Carrie also was active in the District of Columbia State Equal Suffrage Association, becoming president of the association in 1900 and delivering the welcome for the 36th annual convention of the National American Women's Suffrage Association in 1904. After Alexander died in 1908 of pneumonia, Carrie continued to remain active in these organizations. In 1914, Carrie became president of the District of Columbia State Equal Suffrage association again. After many years of activism on behalf of women's rights, Carrie E. Kent died on January 2, 1918 at the age of 76.


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Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. VI. N.p.: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

“Ready for Business.” The Washington Post, February 14, 1898. Retrieved from

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Croly, J. C.The History of the Woman's Club Movement in America. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000: Scholar's Edition. New York: H.G. Allen, 1898, p. 349.

District of Columbia, Deaths and Burials, 1840-1964. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013,

General Federation of Women'S Clubs.Biennial: Official Proceedings, 1896, 3rd-6th 1896-1902, p.132.

National American Woman Suffrage Association, Convention. (1914). The hand book of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and proceedings of the Forty-sixth Annual Convention, held at Nashville, Tennessee, November 12-17, inclusive, 1914. The Association.

The Gove Book: History and Genealogy of the American family of Gove and notes of EuropeanGoves,

Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: 122; Page: 94A; Enumeration District: 027,

"Department of Narcotics." InMinutes of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at the Sixteenth Annual Meeting, in Chicago, Illinois, 8-13 November, 1889, 434-42. Chicago, IL: Woman's Temperance Publishing Association, 1889.

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