Hancock, Elizabeth Gavett,
Manuscript Collection: MS 0705
Agency History/Biographical note:
Elizabeth (Betty) Gavett was born on November 15, 1920 in Ithaca, New
York. Her parents were Joseph W. Gavett Jr., a professor of
engineering at Cornell University, and Helen Whitton Gavett.
Elizabeth attended Monroe High School in Rochester, New York and then
attended Mount Holyoke College, as a member of the class of 1943,
until the end of her junior year. When her father became ill, she
transferred to the University of Rochester for her senior year and
graduated with a degree in Biology. Following her graduation, she
conducted research in microbiology and worked as the executive
director of the local multiple sclerosis chapter. She spent summers
helping to run her family's resort in the Adirondacks. In October of
1956, she was married to Richard O. Hancock. They had two children.
She spent sixteen years at home with her children and then went back
to work at a cancer center as a data manager for the study of new
anti-cancer drugs. She has done volunteer work for her church,
serving two terms on the Board of Deacons and teaching Sunday school.
She was a member of the League of Women Voters as a chair of the
Natural Resources Committee and sang in the Oratorio Society. She
has also helped in various groups related to her children's
activities. Her other interests include Bible study, stamp
collecting, computers, and environmental issues.
Scope and Content:
The Elizabeth Gavett Hancock Papers contain correspondence,
transcripts of correspondence, a scrapbook, biographical information,
and photographs. Her correspondence and scrapbook date from
1939-1942 and reflect her social and academic activities as a student
at Mount Holyoke College. The letters were written by Hancock to her
parents. They discuss her music lessons and her participation in
choirs, her zoology studies, Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to Mount
Holyoke in 1941, Mount Holyoke President Roswell Ham, the food,
dating, dances, and the influenza epidemic on campus in 1941.
Hancock also describes air raid drills, rationing, British War Relief
work, and other topics that reflect the impact of World War II on the
College. Also of note in the correspondence is a reference to an
African-American student in a letter dated September 17, 1941.
Transcripts of the letters, compiled by Hancock in 1997-1998, are
part of the collection. Both the correspondence and the scrapbook
document Mount Holyoke traditions such as freshman hazing, Mountain
Day, Junior Show, freshman rings, Founder's Day, Faculty Show, Junior
Prom, May Queens, and Commencement. The scrapbook contains articles,
programs, photographs of Hancock and her friends, notes from friends,
and other memorabilia. The biographical information includes a
newspaper photograph of Hancock with the Mount Holyoke Junior Prom
leaders from 1942 and newspaper announcements of Hancock's 1956
marriage. The photographs are of Hancock and her friends on the
Mount Holyoke campus as well as on a Mountain Day picnic.
Cite as: Elizabeth Gavett Hancock Papers, Archives and
Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted
, 9 folders
- Transcripts of Correspondence
, 2 folders
, 1 folder
- Biographical Information
, 1942, 1956
, 1 folder
, 1 folder