Betsy Gamble Hansen papers, 1902-2003 and undated 5.5 Linear Feet — 11 boxes
The Betsy Gamble Hansen papers are organized into two series. The Writings series includes drafts of Hansen's 2003 novel Portals, iterations of which existed under the titles A Communion of Saints, A Gathering of Saints and Sinners, The Hawk and the Myna Bird, and Tapestry Tales. Also included in this series are papers related to the publication of the book, including publishing contracts, typeface samples, prospectuses, copyright forms, and estimates. The Menzies Family correspondence and other papers series contains letters received by Hansen's grandmother, E.B. Menzies, of Hickory, North Carolina, and her immediate family, clippings, and other papers. The bulk of the correspondence in this series was written by Menzies's sons, Bruce, George, and Tom Menzies, and her daughters Mary Stuart Menzies Tarrant and Jane Menzies Gamble (Betsy Gamble Hansen's mother). Other frequent correspondents include Tom's wife, Frances Menzies, and George's wife, Betty Menzies. Also included are birthday cards, Christmas cards, and letters for E.B. Menzies from friends. Two folders labeled "Family Correspondence" consist of correspondence between E.B. Menzies's children and their spouses. Peppered throughout these folders are letters from E.B. Menzie's grandchildren, including Betsy Gamble Hansen.
Mrs. E. B. Menzies was born Reesie Tipton Warren in 1880 in Emory, Virignia and died in 1961. She lived most of her life in Hickory, NC. She married Edward Bruce Menzies in 1902, and they remained together until Edward died in 1924. Most of the pre-1930 correspondence in the collection consists of letters from E.B. Menzies's extended family and a few letters from her children while away at camp. The children wrote infrequently in the 1930s. During this time Tom, George, and Bruce traveled across the country from their hometown of Hickory, North Carolina, in search of work, while Jane and Mary Stuart remained at home. From 1932-1935, the three men each attended the Colorado School of Mines and performed construction work for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) project to build the Hoover Dam, then held temporary jobs in several different cities before settling in California. Tom and Bruce attended college while George appears to have continued working.
During World War II, each of E.B. Menzies's sons enlisted as United States Navy Seabees in the Pacific Theater, and began to write home much more frequently. Tom graduated in 1942 and was immediately subject to the draft, while Bruce and George began service several months later. None of the three men appear to have seen much conflict, and each survived the war unharmed, although Bruce did stay in a Navy Hospital for some time, apparently due to a stomach illness. Jane and Mary Stuart kept in frequent contact with their brothers throughout the war. All three men were discharged by 1945.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, each of E.B. Menzies's sons settled in California with their wives and children. George began working for a rail line, Tom took a job at a mill, and Bruce sold insurance. E.B. Menzies moved to California to teach for two years before moving back to North Carolina. Each of her children kept in regular correspondence with her throughout the 1950s, but the letters stop in 1961, when E.B. Menzies died.
In addition to the correspondence in this series, this series contains clippings and other papers compiled by E.B. Menzies, including a small amount of financial papers, prescriptions, and materials relating to her children.