Nellie Bakeman Donovan was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts. She entered Colby in 1889. Following graduation she worked as an assistant teacher at the Coburn Classical Institution from 1892-1893. She was then the financial agent for the Women’s Division at Colby from 1893-1894. Following her work at Colby she served as an assistant high school teacher of Latin in Somerville, Massachusetts from 1894-1895. She resided and passed away in Newton Center, Massachusetts.