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The Carey Hand Funeral Home Records

The Carey Hand Funeral Home During the first half first half of the twentieth century, the Carey Hand Funeral Home was the largest in Central Florida, serving a five-county area, including Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Polk and Hillsborough. It was the first funeral home in Florida to have a chapel, and housed the first crematorium built south of Cincinnati and Washington, DC, serving most of the southeastern states.

The modernized funeral home built by the company in 1918 now houses the University of Central Florida's Downtown Campus located at 39 West Pine Street. The company has been in continual operation since 1890, currently known as the Carey Hand and Cox-Parker Funeral Homes.

The University of Central Florida Special Collections holds the Funeral Home Records from 1891-1955. The records are used extensively for genealogical and historical research on Central Florida.

The collection includes Undertaker's Memoranda, Funeral Registers, Cremation Records, records for the Palm and Greenwood Cemeteries, as well as other materials relating to the operations of the Orlando mortuary business.

The guide describes the Carey Hand Funeral Home Records. Some of the materials in the collection are available in digital format on the Central Florida Memory website. To view the Carey Hand Funeral Home Records, please contact Special Collections at 407-823-2576 or

Melville Dewey In Florida

Melville Dewey One of the most famous men served by the Carey Hand Funeral Home was Melville Dewey, who some title the “Father of Modern Librarianship.”

Dewey is best known for inventing the Dewey Decimal Classification system while working as a student assistant in the library of Amherst College. His work created a revolution in library science and set in motion a new era of librarianship.

Dewey helped establish the American Library Association (ALA) in 1876, serving as secretary from 1876-1890, and as president from 1890-1891 and  1892-1893.

In 1883 Dewey became the librarian of Columbia College (today Columbia University) in New York City, where he founded the first library school in January 1887. He also co-founded and edited Library Journal. In 1889, he became director of the New York State Library in Albany, a position he held until 1906.

After 1906, Dewey and his wife, Annie developed the Lake Placid Club, a resort for social, cultural and spiritual enrichment in the Adirondack Mountains based on Protestant values and Victorian standards of social conduct. After Annie's death in 1922, Dewey married Emily Beal, a Lake Placid Club employee in 1924.

In 1925, Dewey and Emily went south to Florida for the winter. They decided to establish a Lake Placid Club South on one of the inland lakes in the central part of the state near Sebring. The Deweys spent winters in an area renamed Lake Placid, Florida until Melville Dewey's 80 th year, when he died on December 16, 1931 after a stroke.

As Dewey wished, he was cremated after his funeral by the Carey Hand Funeral Home in Orlando, Florida. His ashes were transported back to the Lake Placid Club in New York where his son Godfrey placed them in a small crypt beneath the Chapel altar next to those of his mother.

The accompanying images are samples of the documentation created by the Carey Hand Funeral Home.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

Left: Carey Hand Funeral Home Memoranda includes information recorded by the undertaker relating to the death and burial of the deceased individual, here, Melville Dewey, d.1931

Right: Carey Hand Funeral Home Register, each page details death, burial, and payment information for services provided. Here, Melville Dewey, d.1931

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Last updated March 21, 2014 1:39:00 PM

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