Elizabeth Ellen Solomon Beesley, known as 'Nellie,' was born May 27, 1864 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second child born to Alfred and Ellen Gyde Solomon. When she was only seven year old, Nellie's mother died giving birth to her seventh child, so Nellie lived with her Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle James, who were unable to have children. They raised Nellie as their own and taught her to work hard and assume responsibility. Nellie grew to love them and she enjoyed traveling with them to different places in Utah. One October 23, 1885 Nellie married Frederick Beesley in the Salt Lake City Temple. Five days later, she ad her husband went to the Hawaiian Islands to serve as missionaries. While Nellie's husband built the first mission home, taught school, led the choir, and directed the band, Nellie devoted her time to teaching the women how to sew and do fancy needlework. Nellie and her husband had two children before they were released from their mission in April 1889. When they returned to Utah, they settled in Salt Lake City and Nellie's husband worked with the Solomon Brother's Shoe Company and Beesley Music Company. He was also a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for over fifty years. Nellie was the mother of seven children, one of whom died at the age of nine. When Nellie's husband died January 15, 1940, Nellie stayed busy visiting with her children, traveling, and serving in the church. She had good health until two weeks before her death in May 1957 at the age of ninety- three.
This collection contains biographical materials relating to the Beesley family. The biographies of Nellie and Frederick Beesley are included in this collection, as well as history of the Beesley Music Company, which gives details of its origin and family members involved in the company. There is also a letter written on July 14, 1975 from Ruth Beesley Fifield to LeGrand L. Baker of the BYU Library giving him information concerning the location of the Beesley histories. Elizabeth's biography, written by Frederick Beesley and edited by Ruth Beesley Fifield, is only two- typewritten pages. Very few personal stories about Nellie can be found in this biography, though the biographer does describe Nellie's mischievous personality by relating a prank that she played. Apparently, Nellie cut up a dishcloth and put it in Elder Joseph F. Smith's porridge, just to give him a 'surprise.' In Nellie's older years, she enjoyed traveling and being with her family. She lived with her daughter in Los Angeles during the last years of her life.