The twenty-second annual convention of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association (NYSWSA) was held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, December 16-18, 1890. The twenty-eighth was held on was held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, November 17–19, 1896. Both were held in Rochester. The Whitcomb House, then one of Rochester's premier hotels, was a venue that served both conventions.
1890 Convention. The Whitcomb House hosted executive sessions of the Association's governing board on December 17 and December 18. At the December 17 executive session, nationally prominent suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage were named honorary vice presidents of the Association. The December 18 executive session was the concluding event of the convention.
Other venues of the 1890 convention included the First Universalist Church, where plenary sessions were held; and the Chamber of Commerce offices atop the Rochester Savings Bank Building, where some 600 persons attended a reception honoring Anthony.
1896 Convention. The Whitcomb House served served as convention headquarters and the site of a reception.
On Tuesday, November 17, the convention began with an afternoon business meeting held at the Whitcomb House. That evening, an informal reception was held at the Whitcomb to welcome the convention's keynote speaker, Susan B. Anthony. On the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, the NYSWSA executive board held a private meeting at the Whitcomb House, the final event on the convention's schedule.
The other venue of the 1896 convention was the YMCA Music Hall, where plenary sessions were held. At those meetings suffrage leader Harriet May Mills of Syracuse served as recording secretary for the convention. In addition, Isabel Howland of Sherwood was elected recording secretary of the NYSWSA for the coming year.
About the Site. The Whitcomb House was a six-story hotel erected in 1872 in the Romanesque Revival style. It was demolished in 1947. It is unknown what occupied the site until 1973, when the twenty-seven-story Chase Tower was completed there. That structure is notable for the outward curvature of its lower floors. In 2015, new owners acquired the tower, renamed it "The Metropolitan," and began marketing it as a mixed-use structure incorporating offices and high-end apartments.