Mrs. Bessie Tartt Wilson arrived in Boston from Mobile, Alabama, to attend nursing school at the age of 19. Upon completing her degree, Mrs. Wilson practiced nursing in Boston area hospitals and as a private nurse. During this time, finding employment was challenging for African-American nurses. Mrs. Wilson’s entrepreneurial spirit became evident as she used this inspiration to establish her own nurses’ registry. After several years of operating the Nurses registry, she ventured into a career she had always dreamed about: caring for children.
In 1946, at the age of 23, Mrs. Wilson realized the rapidly changing needs of Boston area children and the potential of Boston’s strong childcare market.
She founded a daycare and foster care facility, Tartt’s Nursery School, on 2 Holborn Terrace (now Kavanaugh Way) in Dorchester, MA. Tartt’s quickly became renowned throughout the Boston community for high-quality child care. Mrs. Wilson developed a teaching philosophy based on a well-rounded curriculum and a strong value system designed to instill a love of learning and encourage the development of happy, healthy, confident children.
As her focus began to narrow on academics, Mrs. Wilson renamed Tartt’s Nursery School, Tartt’s Day Care Center & Private Kindergarten. After she passed, and under the leadership of her daughter, Mary L. Reed, Tartt’s Day Care Center & Private Kindergarten has evolved into a multi-site infant, toddler, and preschool program (TARTTs Day Care Centers Inc.).
In 2008, a non-profit foundation, The Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (BTWIC), was founded in Mrs. Wilson’s honor to further serve and advocate for children and families throughout Massachusetts. Closing in 2016, the foundation left a successful, well-documented legacy of advocacy work on behalf of low-income children in Massachusetts.
TARTTs in the News
Over the years TARTTs has continued to make the news by providing excellent childcare to Boston area families. Below you’ll find an archive of where we’ve been featured.
The Tartt’s Family, Tartt’s Day Care Centers
Chronicle – Tried and True
Generations of TARTTs Family discuss the origins, history, and longevity of a business lasting over 7 decades.
Mary L. Reed President, TARTTs Day Care Centers
Your Life Calling – Spotlight
Mary Reed leaves a successful career in Human Services to rejoin her mother’s long standing childcare business.