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“Francesca’s room graphically reflects her many interests and hobbies. It is a museum that holds her collections: various types of flowers and plants; many types of posters, pictures and quotations that are to her liking; and dominating the walls, floors and room itself are samples and traces of her primary interest, photography (also her talent!),” wrote Francesca Woodman’s resident advisor at Abbot Academy in the fall of 1972, summarizing her approach to living at age 14 and beyond.

From 1972-1973, Francesca studied at Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, a private boarding school for girls and one of the few high schools in the United States offering a concentrated art curriculum. It was there that Francesca met Wendy Snyder MacNeil, her earliest, highly influential teacher who introduced her to the creative and expressive capabilities of photography and with whom she later reconnected at Rhode Island School of Design. Of her progress, MacNeil wrote: “Francesca’s output in photography is both prolific and prodigious. She has let her imagination run wild and done many experimental images of great power + strength. She now needs to work in a more disciplined manner on her own special style, to make her images truly lasting.“

Abbot Academy closed its doors in 1973. Francesca was among a group of students invited to study at neighboring Phillips Academy where she spent the next year before returning to Boulder, Colorado to graduate high school a year early.

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