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Ralph Lowell Hancock was born in Plainville, Indiana and attended Springfield Business College (Missouri) and Washington University in St. Louis.
In 1929 Hancock worked as a reporter in Los Angeles and later worked as a foreign correspondent with the New York Times, where he became a recognized expert on Latin America. He covered a variety of events in Latin America, including the political revolution that brought Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Sr. to power in 1937. During the 1940s, Hancock served as Latin America editor for the Encyclopedia Americana. He later co-wrote a series of textbooks for young people, including "Our Southern Neighbors," "Exploring American Neighbors" and "Mexico & Central America." The texts were widely used in schools in California and New York.
During World War II Hancock worked as a senior analyst on the Board of Economic Warfare. He also collaborated with people in the entertainment industry including comedian Joe E. Brown and songwriters Hoagy Carmichael and Henry Tobias. Hancock wrote a book about Douglas Fairbanks in collaboration with Fairbank's niece. Hancock was a ghostwriter of over thirty manuscripts in addition to books published under his own name.
Hancock and his wife Frances had two children and since 1960, they lived in San Diego.
The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, projects, research material, photographs, scrapbooks, and publications and a 1974 Addenda.
The correspondence series is separated into outgoing (1946 only) and incoming letters, organized by title of author.
The manuscripts series contains drafts, notes, outlines, research material and is separated into book length, television series, and article length manuscripts, as well as books authored and edited by Hancock, and other projects. Each section is organized by title of work.
The research files include information on Latin America and California.
Also included in the collection are scrapbooks, photographs, maps, and a collection of nudist publications.
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[Identification of item], Ralph Lowell Hancock papers, Ax 708, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.