Bessie Baldwin Beach, born June 5, 1851, was the only daughter of David (1817-1895) and Sylvia (Baldwin) Beach (1821-1886). The oldest of three, she had two younger brothers, John (1854-1912) and Frank (1856-1941). Born and raised in Branford, Connecticut, Beach was active in the community as a member of the Village Improvement Association, Comfortable Society of the First Congregational Church, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the National Society of New England Women. Additionally, she loaned objects for the Connecticut House at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and assisted on the 1902 Supplementary History addition to Edward E. Atwater's History of the Colony of New Haven to Its Absorption into Connecticut. She was a member of the 1890 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle graduating class (a distance education home reading course) and completed an additional four-year course becoming a "Member of the Guild of the Seven Seals" in 1894.
Following the death of her parents, Beach moved to Washington, D.C., and worked at the Congressional Library. In 1897, she enrolled in the newly formed library science program at the Columbian University (now George Washington University) headed by former Librarian of Congress, Ainsworth Rand Spofford (1825-1908). As a special student for the next two years, including the 1897 summer school session, she earned high marks for her courses and thesis. After completing her studies in 1899, she moved to Philadelphia for a position as an assistant university librarian at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1904, she became a cataloguer at the Montague Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. On May 6, 1904, Beach was appointed librarian at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She remained there until the school closed in 1918. She then transferred to the Chilocco Indian School in Newkirk, Oklahoma, before retiring in 1924. As a Bureau of Indian Affairs employee, she also taught several summer courses in library management at the Tomah and Haskell Indian Service Institutes. She was actively involved with the various debate and literary societies at both Carlisle and Chilocco. She often chaperoned Sunday walks and Sunday school and partook
in various school events and holidays. Dedicated to her work, she was a member of the District of Columbia Library Association, American Library Association, and the Bi-State Library Association. She also attended the opening of the Librarians' Vacation Home in Indian Neck, toured other libraries, and submitted library reports and articles to the Carlisle school newspaper.
Throughout her life, Beach was an avid domestic and international traveler. She often returned to Queach Farm, her childhood home in Branford, to visit friends and relatives or to Washington, D.C., but she also motored with friends across the country, sailed to Europe, and took a three-week cruise to the West Indies. She passed away after a two-year confinement at the Guilford Sanitarium on January 23, 1940.