Agnes Slosson Lewis

AELewis1Born 1878
Birthplace Geneva, NY
Died Unknown
Grave Site Unknown
Contribution Suffragist and political club leader

Agnes Bevan Slosson, was born in Geneva (Ontario County), New York in 1878. Her parents were Henry Lawrence and Agnes Stacey Slosson. She attended the DeLancey School and Geneva High School, as well as St. Margaret’s School in Buffalo, New York. She also studied voice in New York City.

She married Alfred George Lewis, originally of Buffalo, New York, in 1903. They settled on White Springs Farm in Geneva and had four children — one son and three daughters. Shortly after her marriage, Lewis became involved in the local women’s suffrage movement.

As a suffragist in Geneva, New York, Lewis was a younger colleague of Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller. Largely because of the Millers, Geneva was a hotbed of suffrage activity during the decade in which Lewis married and began her work for the suffrage cause. The Geneva Political Equality Club, which had been founded in 1897, attracted a number of the period’s nationally and internationally prominent suffrage speakers, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, the Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, the Pankhursts from England, Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. From 1898 until 1910, the Club also held a “piazza party” every spring at Lochland, the Millers’ lakefront estate. In 1907, the New York State Woman’s Suffrage Association met in Geneva, New York.

Lewis rose to prominence in the regional movement, becoming president of the Ontario County Woman’s Suffrage Association. After suffrage was granted and the League of Women Voters was formed, Lewis became director of New York State’s Seventh Region of the League. She was also instrumental in organizing the Geneva Woman’s Club upon the demise of the Geneva Political Equality Club in 1917. She acted as president of the Woman’s Club for its first four years.

Lewis’ activities on behalf of women broadened to include a number of causes in addition to her work for suffrage. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Woman’s Free Rest Room and also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Geneva General Hospital, where she chaired the Nurses Training School Committee. She worked on the Labor Committee of the New York Woman’s Committee for Law Enforcement and was a member of the Needlework Guild of America.

Lewis’ other club activities reflected her interest in social welfare. She was a committee member of the Geneva Free Library and acted as trustee for District School No. 8 in the Town of Geneva. She was an activist for peace, and had membership in the national and state Consumer’s League, the American Association for Labor Legislation, the Federal Council of Churches, and the Ontario County Home Bureau. She also served on the Mental Hygiene and After Care Committee for the Willard State Hospital.

Bibliography of Suggested Books & Articles

  • Emmons, E. Thayles, The Story of Geneva, Geneva, NY: The Geneva Daily Times, 1931; republished Geneva, NY: The Finger Lakes Times, 1982. (This publication has a biography of Lewis).