A New Bedford teacher for more than 20 years, Betsey Baldwin Winslow (1836-1925) was elected to the New Bedford School Committee, serving in that capacity for nearly 39 years – one of the longest serving members in the history of the School Department. When she retired in 1915, the normal rules of the school committee for naming buildings were suspended. Miss Winslow was the first living person for which a city school was named.
Betsey Baldwin Winslow (1836-1925) was born in Newark, NJ in 1836. Her father, a shoe manufacturer, died while she was still a child. Her mother, Ann Saulter Baldwin, remarried a former New Bedford whaling master, Captain William Winslow, who adopted Betsey. The family moved to New Bedford and Betsey was educated in New Bedford Public Schools. One of her classmates was William W. Crapo, who would later become first president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. Of Miss Winslow, Crapo wrote, “As a schoolgirl, she was bright, intelligent and diligent, and during a long life of usefulness, she has enjoyed the confidence and high regard of the people of New Bedford.” Like Florence Waite, Betsey never married and lived in her childhood home on County Street her entire life. A teacher for more than 20 years, she thereafter was elected to the New Bedford School Committee, serving education in that capacity for nearly 39 years. This was the longest serving term on record until 2015.
Miss Winslow championed education for girls and made classes in the industrial arts part of the curriculum. Her work extended to women of all classes, for she was active in the Ladies City Mission, the Reform and Relief Association, and the New Bedford Women’s Club. In addition to her school committee duties, over the decades she tutored hundreds of students in her home, preparing them for advanced studies and in preparation for college. When she retired in 1915, the normal rules of the school committee for naming buildings were suspended in order to acknowledge her service by naming a school in her honor. This was done with the new school building on Allen Street in the city’s West End. Miss Winslow was the first living person for which a city school was named. She died after a brief illness in 1925.