The thirty-fifth annual convention of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association (NYSWSA) was held in Hornellsville Tuesday through Friday, October 20–23, 1903. (Nineteenth-century practice was to use the singular, woman's; later practice was to use the plural, women's.)
Business meetings and executive committee meetings were held at the Page House, then one of Hornellsville's most elegant hotels. Plenary sessions of the suffrage convention were held at Westminster Presbyterian Church (erected 1900).
Present at these meetings were national suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony; Anna Howard Shaw, a prominent suffrage leader who was also a physician and one of the first women to be ordained as a Methodist minister in the United States; and Carrie Chapman Catt, then president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Also present were regional suffrage activists Harriet May Mills and Emily Howland of Sherwood, who served as secretary of the convention.
The convention program began at 9:00 a.m. on October 20 at the Page House with a meeting of the Business Committee. A meeting of the Executive Committee followed at 11:00 a.m.
An evening reception was held at the home of real estate speculator Joseph B. Woodbury. Among those attending were Anthony, Mills, Howland, Catt, and Shaw.
The plenary session opened on the morning of Wednesday, October 21, with formal business such as committee reports and reports of county-level suffrage organizations. After a lunch in the church parlor, the plenary session reconvened for an afternoon session highlighted by an omnibus report by Mills on the Organization Committee, NYSWSA's outreach at the New York State Fair, and the organization's newsletter and headquarters. After more county reports, Shaw helmed her popular Question Box feature, where she extemporized responses to questions from delegates, especially anti-suffrage questions that local activists had encountered in their own work.
The Wednesday evening session began with a greeting to delegates from Hornellsville mayor F. J. Nelson. Ella Hawley Crossett, then president of NYSWSA, responded. There followed keynote addresses: "The True Basis of Suffrage" by Mills, and "A Privilege and a Duty" by Catt.
The morning session of Thursday, October 22, began with breakout conferences, reports, and the election of officers. After lunch, attention turned to committee reports on suffrage activism in schools, work among children, legislation, and resolutions, plus a few final county-level reports. The final public session of the convention, held Thursday evening, featured keynote addresses by Anthony and Shaw plus closing remarks by Crossett.
The convention program ended on the morning of October 23 with a meeting of the Executive Committee, once again at the Page House.
Thanks to Collette Cornish, City of Hornell Historian, and Alice Taychert, Director, Hornell Public Library, for extraordinary research assistance.