A Private Life : Schooling in Europe and Boston


A graduating class of Miss Winsor's School (does not include FPK)

In order to get away from her ex-husband Mr. Pillsbury, Louise took Frances and fled to Europe. Frances and her mother spent a year in Europe, travelling through Germany, France, and Switzerland. Frances said in her autobiography, Roses in December that the year spent abroad was, "probably the most valuable one of my entire education." Frances spent lots of time on her own, exploring Europe and wandering through museums. Frances has since said that the time she had to herself in Europe was what sparked her, “natural proclivity for wandering.”After they got back from their year abroad in Europe, Louise and Frances spent the summers in Newbury, Vermont, where Frances had private tutors that taught her French and German. A University of Vermont graduate also gave her lessons in English. Louise then decided that Frances needed a more formal education, so when Frances was fourteen, they started to spend the school year in Boston. Frances got her formal education at Miss Winsor’s School, (self-supporting women) which was founded in 1886, and started out with only a few girls when it opened. Frances went to the school in its earlier days, when it had just started opening its doors to a larger number of girls. Miss Winsor’s School was reputable, but Frances didn’t quite fit in because she was so proficient in languages but deficient in mathematics. Because of this, the teachers didn’t know quite where to place her.  She also had numerous health problems, including dental and back problems. Despite the doubts she had about her education and her struggles with her health, she did graduate from the school, but she later described her education as “sketchy.”