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Elizabeth Gavett Hancock papers

Identifier: MS 0705

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1939-1956
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1939 - 1942

Conditions Governing Access


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.


1 boxes (x1943 Gavett)

Language of Materials



Hancock, Elizabeth Gavett, 1920- ; Volunteer and cancer data manager. Attended Mount Holyoke College, 1938-1942. Papers consist of correspondence, transcripts, scrapbook, biographical information and photographs. Principally documenting daily life, traditions, special events at the College and the impacts of World War II on the College community.


Series 1. Correspondence. Series 2. Transcripts of Correspondence. Series 3. Scrapbook. Series 4. Biographical Information. Series 5. Photographs.

Hancock papers, 1939-1956 (bulk 1939-1942)
Edited Full Draft
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Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA