The thirty-third annual convention of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association (NYSWSA) was held from Tuesday through Friday, October 29 to November 1, 1901, in Oswego. (Nineteenth-century practice was to use the singular, woman's; later practice was to use the plural, women's.) Plenary sessions were held at the First Presbyterian Church. Business and executive board meetings were held at the Hamilton House, and a reception was held in the Common Council Chamber of the Oswego's 1871 City Hall. Speaking at the convention were the nationally prominent suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony and Anna Howard Shaw and the regional suffrage activist Harriet May Mills.
Program of the Convention. The convention began with a plenary session at First Presbyterian on Tuesday, October 29. Simultaneously a business committee meeting was held in the afternoon at the Hamilton House, followed by a two-hour executive board meeting.
A Tuesday evening reception in the Common Council Chamber ran from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m.
On Wednesday, October 30, the first plenary session ran from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon. This session was devoted to business matters, a press conference, and county-by-county reports. An afternoon session from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. featured committee reports and more county reports. The report of the Organization Committee was given by Mills. An evening session from 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. was devoted to several addresses, including a welcoming speech by Oswego Mayor Albert M. Hall. Nationally prominent suffragist and radical Alice Stone Blackwell lectured, followed by Julia R. Jenney, one of the region's first woman attorneys. The evening's final address was delivered by Anthony.
On Thursday, October 31, an executive session (open to NYSWSA members, but not to the general public) ran from 9:45 a.m. to 12 noon at First Presbyterian. On the program were the election of officers and certain committee reports, including the report of the State Fair Committee presented in part by Mills.
An open afternoon session featured discussion of where the next year's convention would be held. Regional suffrage activists Jean Brooks Greenleaf and Ella Hawley Crossett delivered a eulogy for suffrage and temperance activist Charlotte Augusta Cleveland, who had died in April 1901, aged eighty-three. Anna Howard Shaw presented the Question Box, a popular feature of each NYSWSA convention.
The closing plenary session ran from 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. Highlights included an address titled "Subject or Sovereign" delivered by Mills and an address titled "Progressive Ideals of American Women" delivered by Shaw.
The convention concluded on Friday, November 1, with an executive board meeting at the Hamilton House that began at 9:00 a.m. It is presumed that Susan B. Anthony and Harriet May Mills, who addressed the plenary sessions and were deeply involved with NYSWSA's governance, took part in some or all these meetings.
Thanks to city historian Mark Slosek for research assistance.