Jessie F. Boyd

Portrait of Jessie Boyd

Jessie Fremont Boyd was born on December 20, 1864 in Wheeling, West Virginia. Her parents were John and Isabella George Boyd. She was a namesake of Jessie Benton Fremont, daughter of a prominent Missouri politician and wife of John Charles Fremont who ran unsuccessfully for the US Presidency in 1856. She had three brothers: Nelson, Charles, and William Boyd.

In 1868, when Jessie was four, her family moved Chillicothe, Missouri. From 1884-1887, Jessie attended the New England Conservatory. She studied piano with George Howard and Otto Bendix and voice with J. M. Wheeler. In 1888, Jessie met her future husband Frank, who was the brother of Jessie’s Conservatory friend Eva Woodworth. Prior to her marriage to Frank Woodworth, Jessie attended a school in Camden Point, Missouri, where she studied German. In 1888, Jessie accepted a teaching position in White Springs, Florida, but apparently was ill during her time there. She traveled to Cuba and wrote several newspaper articles detailing her adventures there.

In 1890, Jessie married Frank Woodworth in Chillicothe, with Eva as a bridesmaid. The couple settled in Chattanooga, where Frank had a hardware business. They had two daughters, Lora and Isabel, who both became accomplished pianists.

Jessie was a founding member of Chattanooga’s Music Club and held a paid position in the Catholic parish’s choir/quartette. In addition, she was an active member of the Women’s Club in Chattanooga, in which she held the position of President and later Chairperson of the Committee on Education.  In early 1904, Jessie became ill and died eight months later. The cause of her death was found to be rheumatic fever that she had contracted during childhood.

Biographical information excerpted from profile written by Jessie Boyd’s granddaughter, Corinne Carr Nettleton.  The complete Nettleton biographical profile can be found in this collection..

Physical description

One small clamshell box; contains letters, one photograph, and one folder of related papers.


The Jessie Fremont Boyd Papers were donated to the NEC library by her granddaughter Corinne Carr Nettleton (daughter of Isabel Woodworth Carr(1895-1983) in the Spring of 2002. There is one folder of materials pertaining to the donation of the collection to NEC.


Access to the Jessie Fremont Boyd Papers is granted by the Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are no restrictions on this collection. To view the digitized correspondence from this collection, click here.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory. Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: NECA 18.4. Jessie F. Boyd Collection, New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.

Scope and Content

This is a collection of letters from 1884-1885 written by NEC student Jessie Fremont Boyd to her mother, Isabella George Boyd, father, and presumably siblings.  Jessie’s weekly letters describe various aspects of her life at the Conservatory including voice lessons, professors, social life, church services, financial issues, and dormitory life. Included with the collection is a biographical sketch of Jessie F. Boyd, as well as a photograph. To view the digitized correspondence from this collection, click here.