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Virginia Heffernan Hancock papers

Identifier: DM004

  • Staff Only


This collection contains Virginia Heffernan Hancock's correspondence, financial ledgers, and other biographical materials (Series 1); a large amount of her class work and projects, mainly from her time at Iowa State (Series 2); some teaching material from Napsonian School (Series 3); and numerous newspapers and periodicals dating from Heffernan Hancock's time at Iowa State as well as from her time as an active member of the alumni (Series 4).


  • 1930-1996 (bulk 1930-1970)
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1970


General Physical Description note

(9 document cases, 1 oversize box)

Restrictions: Access

One folder containing grades is restricted; all other materials are fully accessible.

Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


4.9 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

This collection, the personal papers of Virginia Heffernan Hancock, is divided into four series: Biographical and personal files; student work and class projects; teaching materials; and printed matter. The biographical and personal files (SERIES 1) contain correspondence, financial ledgers, biographical newsclippings, as well as a resume and other materials. The student work and projects series (SERIES 2) documents Heffernan Hancock's time as a student at Iowa State, as it consists mainly of lecture and reading notes, papers, and class work from the courses that she took while there. Also included are notes from a chemistry class that she took at Georgia Tech, shortly after she moved to Atlanta. A small amount of teaching material makes up SERIES 3, largely from Heffernan Hancock's time at the Napsonian School. SERIES 4 contains numerous newspapers and periodicals dating from her time at Iowa State as well as from her time as an active member of the alumni. This series also contains a few publications from Lockheed, where Heffernan Hancock worked for many years.

Biography of Virginia Heffernan Hancock

Virginia Elizabeth Heffernan Hancock (1915-2004), the sister of P. M. Heffernan, was an accomplished artist who worked for Lockheed as a technical illustrator for 32 years. For most of her adult life, Hancock lived with her brother while he was a professor at Georgia Tech.

Born in Iowa on 7 March 1915, Virginia Elizabeth Heffernan grew up in Sherburn, Minnesota, and Ames, Iowa. She graduated from Iowa State University in 1938 with a B. S. degree. During her time at college she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and Delta Phi Delta Honorary Sorority. After a period of study at the Art Institute in Chicago in the spring of 1941, Heffernan became an artist in fashion design. Virginia Heffernan's brother P. M. (Paul Malcolm) Heffernan had become a faculty member at Georgia Tech in 1938. She joined her brother Paul in Atlanta by 1942, where she was employed for four months as a teacher at Bass Junior High before taking on a teaching job at North Avenue Presbyterian School (known as the Napsonian School). Heffernan taught art, art history, interior decorating, sewing, and chemistry during her 10-year career at Napsonian. She also studied art at night school at the High Museum of Art and took a night-school chemistry course at Georgia Tech during the spring of 1943.

On January 19, 1951, Virginia Heffernan married Dobson W. Hancock at St. Mark’s Chapel in Atlanta. Little is known about her husband, but a Dobson W. Hancock (b. 1921) enlisted as a Private in the U.S. Army at Fort Macpherson in 1942. Death records in Georgia record his death on 26 April 1978 in Muscogee County at the age of 56. It is unclear how long the two remained married.

In the mid-1950s, Heffernan Hancock began working as a technical illustrator for Lockheed. According to her Atlanta Journal-Constitution obituary in 2004, Hancock’s job entailed creating highly precise drawings for pilot training manuals for the Lockheed planes, for which she won several awards. She apparently stopped working for Lockheed in about 1988, shortly after her brother died, and she continued to live in her brother’s residence on 5th Street in Atlanta. She died on 22 February 2004 at the age of 88.


The collection is divided into four series:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1. Personal and biographical files
  2. SERIES 2. Student work and class projects
  3. SERIES 3. Teaching materials
  4. SERIES 4. Printed matter

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


This collection came to the Archives as part of the Georgia Tech Design Archives in 2008. General accession number: 2008.032; specific accession number: 2011.022.


Additional materials may be added to this collection in the future.

Related Materials

See also the P. M. Heffernan Papers (DM003).

Separated Material

The visual materials in this collection (including a few drawings done by Virginia Heffernan Hancock) will be processed separately as DV004.

General Physical Description note

(9 document cases, 1 oversize box)

Processing Information

Christine de Catanzaro, Travis Hampton, and Germaine Schanzmeyer processed these papers in March 2011.

Inventory of the Virginia Heffernan Hancock Papers, 1930-1996 (bulk 1930-1970)
Christine D. de Catanzaro, Travis Hampton, Germaine Schanzmeyer
Copyright March 2011.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA