Home 9 Biographies 9 Joy Bright Hancock

Joy Bright Hancock

Image of Joy Bright Hancock

Image courtesy of the Special Collections & University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ

Joy Bright Hancock (1898-1986), a native of Wildwood, NJ, was on temporary duty in the United States Navy during World War I.

Hancock joined WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II, becoming one of its first officers. In 1946, she was appointed the director of WAVES and successfully lobbied to have women accepted into the regular US Naval Reserves.







Hancock, Joy B. Lady in the Navy: A Personal Reminiscence. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 

United States. 1926. Joy Bright Hancock. Washington. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1053375841 

United States. 1971. For the Relief of Joy Bright Hancock (H.R. 8138). Washington: U.S. G.P.O. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/968393022 

Burstyn, Joan N. 1990. “Joy Bright Hancock”. Past and Promise, Lives of New Jersey Women. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54795013 

“Comdr. Hancock to be Sworn as Director of Waves July 26.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), Jul 18, 1946. http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fhistorical-newspapers%2Fcomdr-hancock-be-sworn-as-director-waves-july-26%2Fdocview%2F151834774%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605.

“Fairfax Soroptimist Club Hears Capt. Hancock.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), Jun 23, 1948. http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fhistorical-newspapers%2Ffairfax-soroptimist-club-hears-capt-hancock%2Fdocview%2F151998494%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605.

“Lieut. Joy Hancock 1st Naval Officer to Sponsor Warship.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), Jul 11, 1943. http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fhistorical-newspapers%2Flieut-joy-hancock-1st-naval-officer-sponsor%2Fdocview%2F151604725%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605.

Saxon, Wolfgang. “JOY HANCOCK DIES; LAST WAVES CHIEF: [OBITUARY].” New York Times, Aug 25, 1986, Late Edition (East Coast). http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fnewspapers%2Fjoy-hancock-dies-last-waves-chief%2Fdocview%2F425963533%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605.

Smith, JY, Washington Post, Staff Writer. “Retired Navy Capt. Joy Hancock Dies.” The Washington Post (1974-Current File), Aug 22, 1986. http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fhistorical-newspapers%2Fretired-navy-capt-joy-hancock-dies%2Fdocview%2F138920837%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605.

Vlahos, Elizabeth. “Capt. Joy Bright Hancock: Distaff Deckplate Trailblazer.” All Hands, 03, 2010, 40, http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fmagazines%2Fcapt-joy-bright-hancock-distaff-deckplate%2Fdocview%2F199471816%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605

“WAVE Names Destroyer at N.J. Launching.” The Washington Post (1923-1954), Aug 02, 1943. http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fhistorical-newspapers%2Fwave-names-destroyer-at-n-j-launching%2Fdocview%2F151660605%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D13605.


Questions to Explore

How did Hancock lobby to have women accepted into the regular US Naval Reserves?

What does WAVES do? How did it help women like Joy Hancock?

Additional Resources

United States. 1952. Subcommittee Hearing on H.r. 6203 to Authorize the Retirement of Capt. Joy Bright Hancock U.s. Navy : Hearings Before the United States House Committee on Armed Services Eighty-Second Congress Second Session on Feb. 21 1952. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. http://congressional.proquest.com/congcomp/getdoc?HEARING-ID=HRG-1952-ASH-0010.

Bright Hancock Joy. 2013. Lady in the Navy : A Personal Reminiscence. Annopolis: Naval Institute Press. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=653351.

World Association for Vedic Studies John Mason and Etta Belle Kitchen. 1979. Recollections of Women Officers Who Served in the U.s. Navy and the U.s. Coast Guard in World War Ii Including Waves Director Mildred Mcafee Joy B. Hancock Jean Palmer Dorothy Stratton Elizabeth Crandall Etta Belle Kitchen Frances Rich Eleanor Rigby Louise Wilde Tova Wiley and Senator Margaret C. Smith. Annapolis MD: U.S. Naval Institute.https://www.worldcat.org/title/993049245