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Convention History

Joyce Arneill, first president of the NFRW, introduces GOP presidential nominee Wendell L. Wilkie at the NFRW's 1st Biennial Convention in 1940.

Joyce Arneill, first president of the NFRW, introduces GOP presidential nominee Wendell L. Wilkie at the NFRW's 1st Biennial Convention in 1940.


Since the Federation's founding in 1938, thousands of Republican women have come together for several days of fellowship, education, inspiration and business at the NFRW Biennial Convention. Held every two years in one of America's premier cities, our convention has a rich history. 

Take a look at the highlights of past conventions. 

1938 -- With 85 clubs affiliated, the first official NFRW convention is held in Chicago, Ill. Its purpose: to set up the organization and to outline opportunities for participation in Party affairs. Delegates elect the first officers, with Joyce Arneill of Colorado becoming NFRW's first national president; a constitution and bylaws are constructed which provide for the assistant chairman of the RNC to serve as NFRW executive director. This ensures a liaison with the Party organization.

1940 -- 1st Biennial, Detroit, Mich. Registration totals 1,636, with delegates reporting from 29 states and the District of Columbia; bylaws are adopted; new officers are elected, including Judy Weis of New York as second president.

1942 -- Convention is postponed due to the war. Advisory Board meets that fall, however, and elects Marie Suthers of Illinois third president.

1944 -- 2nd Biennial, Louisville, Ky. Attendance is estimated at 10,000; Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey delivers keynote address.

1946 -- 3rd Biennial, Philadelphia, Pa. Peggy Greene of Massachusetts is elected fourth president; NFRW emblem is officially introduced.

1948 -- 4th Biennial, St. Paul, Minn. Elizabeth Farrington of Hawaii is elected fifth president; Advisory Board gives president more "hands-on" responsibilities for day-to-day operations of the organization.

1950 -- 5th Biennial, Cleveland, Ohio. Farrington is elected to second term.

1952 -- 6th Biennial, St. Louis, Mo. Nora Kearns of Pennsylvania is elected sixth president.

1954 -- 7th Biennial, Los Angeles, Calif. Kearns is elected to second term.

1956 -- 8th Biennial, Chicago, Ill. The District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii and 47 states are represented; Mary Catherine Gibson of Michigan is elected seventh president.

1958 -- 9th Biennial, Boston, Mass. Gibson is elected to second term.

1960 -- 10th Biennial, Atlantic City, N.J. Ruth Parks of Colorado is elected eighth president.

1962 -- 11th Biennial, Phoenix, Ariz. NFRW kicks off its silver anniversary celebration; all 50 states and the District of Columbia are represented; Dorothy Elston (Kabis) of Delaware is elected ninth president.

1964 -- 12th Biennial,  Washington, D.C. Kabis is elected to second term.

1966 -- 13th Biennial, Washington, D.C. Bylaws amendment is adopted which changes biennial convention to odd-numbered years; Kabis is elected for one additional year.

1967 -- 14th Biennial, Washington, D.C. Gladys O'Donnell of California is elected 10th president.

1969 -- 15th Biennial, Washington, D.C. O'Donnell is elected to second term.

1971 -- 16th Biennial, Washington, D.C. Connie Armitage of South Carolina is elected 11th president.

1973 -- 17th Biennial, Los Angeles, Calif. Armitage is elected to second term.

1975 -- 18th Biennial, Dallas, Texas. Patricia Hutar of Illinois is elected 12th president.

1977 -- 19th Biennial, Atlanta, Ga. Betty Heitman of Louisiana is elected 13th president.

1979 -- 20th Biennial, Indianapolis, Ind. Heitman is elected to second term.

1981 -- 21st Biennial, Denver, Colo. Betty Rendel of Indiana is elected 14th president.

1983 -- 22nd Biennial, Louisville, Ky. Rendel is elected to second term. 

1985 -- 23rd Biennial, Phoenix, Ariz. Judy Hughes of Colorado is elected 15th president.

1987 -- 24th Biennial, Orlando, Fla. NFRW kicks off its golden anniversary celebration; Hughes is elected to second term.

1989 -- 25th Biennial, Baltimore, Md. Huda Jones of Kentucky is elected 16th president.

1991 -- 26th Biennial, Cincinnati, Ohio. Jones is elected to second term.

1993 -- 27th Biennial, Las Vegas, Nev. Charlotte Mousel of California is elected 17th president.

1995 -- 28th Biennial, Albuquerque, N.M. Marilyn Thayer of Louisiana is elected 18th president.

1997 -- 29th Biennial, New Orleans, La. Mary Jo Arndt of Illinois is elected 19th president.

1999 -- 30th Biennial, Seattle, Wash. Marian Miller of Indiana is elected 20th president.

2001 -- 31st Biennial, San Antonio, Texas. Heidi Smith of Nevada is elected 21st president. 

2003 --  32nd Biennial, Salt Lake City, Utah. Dianne Thompson of Texas is elected 22nd president. 

2005 -- 33rd Biennial, Nashville, Tenn. Beverly Davis of Utah is elected 23rd president.

2007 --  34th Biennial, Palm Springs, Calif. Shirley Sadler of Ohio is elected 24th president.

2009 -- 35th Biennial, Orlando, Fla. Sue Lynch of Wisconsin is elected 25th president.

2011 -- 36th Biennial, Kansas City, Mo. Rae Lynne Chornenky of Arizona is elected 26th president.

2013 -- 37th Biennial, Louisville, Ky. Kathy Brugger of California is elected 27th president.

2015 -- 38th Biennial, Phoenix, Ariz. Carrie Almond of Missouri is elected 28th president.

2017 -- 39th Biennial, Philadelphia, Penn. Jody Rushton of Texas is elected 29th president.

2019 -- 40th Biennial, Indianapolis, Ind. Ann Schockett of New York is elected 30th president.

2021 -- 41st Biennial, Orlando, Fla. Eileen Sobjack of Washington is elected 31st president.

2023 -- 42nd Biennial, Oklahoma City, Okla. Julie Harris of Arkansas is elected 32nd president.