Virginia Oglesby Hancock papers

Identifier: HancockV-RSCA-ORPR-US

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of Virginia Oglesby Hancock’s papers and notes from graduate school at Harvard and the University of Oregon, teaching and class materials from Indiana State University and Reed College in both chemistry and music, and musical ephemera from performances and teaching throughout her career.


  • 1941 - 2017


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Phoenix, Arizona on February 13th, 1941, Virginia Oglesby grew up in Palo Alto before enrolling at Reed. After graduating with a BA in chemistry from Reed in 1962 and an MA from Harvard in 1963, Hancock stayed on at Reed as a Teaching Associate in Chemistry 1963-64; 1967-68; 1971-72; 1979-80. She was also Assistant Director of Admission in 1964-65 and participated in the early Renaissance Fayre and other early music activities. She married Professor John Hancock of the Reed chemistry department in 1962. She received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in music history from the University of Oregon in 1977, and taught elsewhere following a divorce from Professor Hancock, returning to Reed once again in 1991 as a professor of music. During her tenure at Reed, Hancock taught first-year music theory and various music history courses. A scholar of Brahms, Hancock published articles on the composer, as well as a 1983 book, Brahms’s Choral Compositions and his Library of Early Music.

With husband and fellow Reed chemistry professor John Hancock [1955-1989], Hancock founded Reed’s Collegium Musicum. She directed both the Collegium and the Reed Chorus, led the Boar’s Head Ensemble at the annual alumni holiday party, and directed Gilbert and Sullivan performances at reunion events.

Hancock sat on many committees, including the 2001 Presidential Search Committee and various fellowships and awards committees. In 2011, she received the distinguished service award for her involvement and contributions to the college.

Hancock retired from Reed in 2016 as a professor emerita.

[Information largely from Hancock’s faculty bio, oral history, and Katie Pelletier’s Reed Magazine article, “The Hancock Variations.”]


7 Linear Feet (14 manuscript boxes)




Virginia Oglesby Hancock (1941-) studied chemistry at Reed as an undergraduate before returning to Reed to teach chemistry and, later, music. After graduating with a BA in chemistry from Reed in 1962, marrying Reed chemistry professor John Hancock [1955-1998] in 1962, and receiving an MA from Harvard in 1963, Hancock taught chemistry at Reed for several years. She received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in music history from the University of Oregon in 1977 and began teaching music at Reed in 1991. Virginia founded Reed’s Collegium Musicum with John Hancock. She directed the Collegium, the Reed Chorus, and several Gilbert and Sullivan performances. She retired from Reed in 2016 as a professor emerita. Her papers include class notes, clippings, photographs, teaching materials, and notes and sheet music from Collegium Musicum concerts as well as other musical performances.

Physical Location

East Stacks Compact Shelving (near L17)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Virginia Hancock Papers were a gift of Virginia Hancock to the Reed College Archives upon her retirement in 2016 and 2017.

Processing Information

Processed by Gay Walker July, October, 2016; Isabel Lyndon Spring, 2017.

Gay Walker and Isabel Lyndon
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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Repository Details

Part of the Reed College Special Collections and Archives Repository

3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard
Portland Oregon 97202-8199 United States