Joy Bright was born in Wildwood, NJ on May 4, 1898. During World War I, after attending business school in Philadelphia, PA, she enlisted in the Navy as a Yeoman (F), serving Camden, NJ and at the Naval Air Station, Cape May.
After attending Foreign Service School, she obtained her private pilot's license. For more than a decade before World War II she was responsible for the Bureau's public affairs activities. In October 1942, she was commissioned a Lieutenant in the new Women's Reserve (WAVES). She initially served as WAVES representative rising to the rank of Commander by the end of the War.
In February 1946, she became the Assistant Director (Plans) of the Women's Reserve and was promoted to WAVES Director, with the rank of Captain. She guided the WAVES through the difficult years of Naval contraction in the later 1940s and the expansion of the early 1950s, a period that also saw the Navy's women achieve status as part of the regular Navy.
On July 1, 1953, she retired as WAVES Director and received the Legion of Merit for her years of service. While retired, she was still unhappy that little had been written about women in the Navy, so she began compiling her memoirs. The book, Lady in the Navy, was published in 1972 and focused on her personal account of the growth of the WAVES and of her other reminiscences. It is considered perhaps the best autobiographical study of women in the Navy.
Her ideals, energy and enthusiasm are continually reflected in the integration of women in the regular Navy. Mrs. Hancock donated her personal papers, manuscripts, research materials and photographs to the University of Georgia Libraries' Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library. She additionally established the Joy Bright Hancock Fund through her estate on October 22, 1980. The purpose of the fund is to support the University Library's collections in Naval and Military Science, Women's Studies and United States History.
You are welcome to enhance this endowment. For more information, please contact Chantel Dunham at email@example.com.