Victoria Henrietta Kugler was born in Minnesota to immigants from Germany and Hungary. In 1905, she married Irish-born Henry Nesbitt, with whom she had two sons. About 1927, the family moved to Hyde Park, New York, where Mrs. Nesbitt became involved in organizing a branch of the League of Women Voters. She met Eleanor Roosevelt, a neighbor, through this group, and they became friends. During Franklin Roosevelt's run for governor of New York, and later during his term of office in Albany, the Roosevelts hired Mrs. Nesbitt to provide baked goods. When FDR became President in 1933, the Nesbitts were asked to come to work in the White House, Henry as chief steward and Henrietta as chief housekeeper.
In 1939, she helped Eleanor Roosevelt prepare for the state visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, including the famous hot dog picnic. Mrs. Nesbitt remained in her job throughout the Roosevelt Administration and stayed on for a few years after Harry S. Truman became President. Mrs. Nesbitt wrote two books after she retired: White House Diary (1948) and The Presidential Cookbook: Feeding the Roosevelts and Their Guests (1951).