The first national convention of the National Dress Reform Association (NDRA) was chaired by its founder, James Caleb Jackson, and took place at Canastota's Dutch Reformed Church on January 7–8, 1857. Speakers included Gerrit Smith and Dr. Mary Edwards Walker of Oswego. A supportive letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton was read to the convention.
By the time of this convention, most woman's suffrage advocates, including Stanton, had long abandoned reform dress, specifically the Bloomer costume. (Nineteenth-century practice was to use the singular, woman's, when referring to women as a class; later practice was to use the plural, women's.) Suffrage leaders, including Stanton, had concluded that it distracted from their mission to win women the vote. (Stanton’s letter may have been written in response to an appeal from her cousin, Gerrit Smith, one of very few activists who had advocated dress reform as an adjunct to suffrage work but continued supporting the cause after suffragists stepped away.) In any case, even when they embraced it, suffragists had never been inclined to support the dress reform cause by holding a convention dedicated to the topic. It was water-cure quacks such as Jackson, who succeeded the suffragists as dress-reform champions, who felt the need to promote the cause by means of conventions. A thumbnail history of dress reform is available here.
Smith attended and participated enthusiastically at this convention; "No other convention," he wrote before the event, "has so great claims on me." The choice of Canastota, but seven miles north of Smith’s home in Peterboro, presumably reflected Smith’s support for the event. The NDRA convened each year until 1861 and intermittently during the Civil War.