Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Carolyn "C. H." Dey, 1882-1946
By Savana Scarborough, Library Ambassador, Florida Gulf Coast University
Secretary, Milton Equal Suffrage League; Auxiliary Member, Children's Home Society
Carolyn Dey, who also went by "Carrie" or "C. H.," was born in 1882 in Texas to Frank E Dey and Carolyn N Dey. Her father was born in New Jersey, but moved to Alabama and served as an officer in the Confederate Army; he later owned his own jewelry store. Carolyn Dey lived in Evergreen, Alabama, before moving to Milton, Florida in the early 1910s. Dey never married and had no children.
Carolyn Dey was active in not only the community of Milton, but in northern Florida and southern Alabama. In 1914, Lavinia Engle, an organizer for the National Equal Suffrage Association, created the Milton Equal Suffrage League with sixteen founding members; it was one of the only suffrage leagues in the state of the Florida. Dey was one of the founders and was also elected secretary of the organization. The city of Milton was extremely active in civic engagement, more so than any other city in Florida was at the time. When the Florida Equal Suffrage Association was held in December 1914 in Pensacola, Dey attended as a delegate from the Milton League to listen to Dr. Mary A. Safford discuss the importance of votes for women. During the 1910s, Dey also served as hostess for many visiting women who were engaging in suffrage activities and who wanted to come and see the Milton Equal Suffrage League.
In addition to participating in suffrage activities, Dey engaged in smaller, daily activities in order to advance the women's movement. In Milton's 1916 Fourth of July celebration, Dey and a number of other women participated in the festivities, prompting the news to note, "The most noticeable and impressive feature being the large number of ladies marching." Carolyn Dey rode in a car with four other women; it was the only car driven by a woman, a Mrs. D.R. Read. In these small acts, alongside her work with the Milton Equal Suffrage League, Dey worked to create equal opportunities for women not only in the political sphere of Florida, but in the social sphere as well.
Alongside her work with the Milton Equal Suffrage League, Dey also served as an Auxiliary Member for the Children's Home Society in Pensacola. Joining in 1920, shortly after the 19th amendment was passed by Congress, Dey continued her work to improve the lives of others by serving the children of west Florida.
Dey died June 28, 1948, in Milton, Florida. Dey was survived by one brother, two sisters, and her nieces, one of which was also named Carolyn.
1900 U. S. Census. Greenville, Butler County, Alabama, p. 21, Enumeration District 20. Digital images. Ancestry.com.
1910 U. S. Census, Florida. Milton, Santa Rosa County, p. 4B, Enumeration District 97. Digital images. Familysearch.org.
Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds. The History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. VI (1900-1920). N.p.: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, p. 116. [LINK]
"Milton Equal Suffrage League Organized." Pensacola News Journal, March 26, 1914, p. 5.
"Miss Caroline Dey." Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, Florida), June 29, 1948, p. 5. Newspapers.com.
"Orlando Delegates at Suffrage Convention." Orlando Evening Star, December 10, 1914, Newspapers.com
"Milton's Fotrth [sic] was celebrated on Extended Scale." Pensacola Journal (Pensacola, Florida), July 05, 1916, p. 3. Chronicling America
"Children's Home Board in Session." Pensacola Journal (Pensacola, Florida), July 25, 1920, p. 16. Chronicling America