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Helen Hance Papers

Identifier: Coll-83
This collection consists of 1.5 linear feet of artifacts that include hundreds of pages of handwritten research, travel brochures, drawings, newspaper clippings, correspondence, published and unpublished manuscripts, and maps.


  • Majority of material found within 1936-1985


Language of Materials

English, Norwegian

Conditions Governing Access

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


1.5 Linear Feet


The Helen Hance Papers consist of a daunting amount of handwritten research that was done before the age of the personal computer, and over a dozen manuscripts and writings that were born from the expertise that research imbued her with. If her success had equaled her effort, Hance’s name would be more widely known today.

Biographical / Historical

Helen Hance was born in Great Meadows, New Jersey in 1895. She studied at Normal School in Newark, then pursued a career as a teacher around 1914. She taught in a single room schoolhouse for approximately a decade. After relocating to Corpus Christi in 1946, she became an active member of The Byliners, a local literary club. The Byliners awarded her the Laurel Wreath Award for one of her articles about the Vikings in 1964.

Hance had a life-long interest in Eric the Red and his son Leif Erikson, who were both Norse explorers. Leif is now credited as being the first known European to have set foot on North America, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. This was not generally accepted until the 1960’s; 25 years after Hance had been making her assertions that the so-called Vinland Leif had written about was located in the US state of Maine.

Despite this vindication, Hance was still unable to find a publisher for any of her four book-sized Norse inspired manuscripts, though she saw periodic successes with articles, short stories, and editorials. Today her books would be considered historical fiction as she made many speculations about events that were unverifiable. Despite that, she amassed an imposingly large collection of handwritten notes during her thorough studies and corresponded with numerous experts in the field, who were often compelled to respond how startled they were at her encyclopedic knowledge. She passed away in 1988 at the age of 93.


The Helen Hance Papers are arranged in four series with fourteen subcategories.

Series 1: Writings Series 2: Research Series 3: Correspondence Series 4: Art

It is stored in four boxes with fourteen folders.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged by Eric Christensen, Processing Archivist. Processing was overseen by Lori Atkins, Director of Special Collections & Archives at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi.



Helen Hance Papers
Eric Christensen
Description rules
Language of description
English, Norwegian
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository

6300 Ocean Dr.
Unit 5702
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States
361-825-5973 (Fax)