Joan Hanford was a skilled and well exhibited artist, but she was so much more.
During World War II, she used her artistic skills working for the Army Air Corps as a “visualizer.” Her Army experience led to a career in “airline styling” with Lockheed and Hughes Aircraft. She received recognition as one of the three leading women in the United States in the technical publication field.
Joan’s art training is impressive. After studies at San Meteo College, she attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, the McNulty Art Institute in Rockport, Massachusetts, the University of Virginia and the University of Georgia.
After retiring, she enjoyed world travel, and once visited Mother Theresa in India. Although she loved painting, she did not enjoy promoting herself as an artist. She did exhibit her works though, at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., the Four Arts in Palm Beach, and other exhibitions across the country in Sarasota, Atlanta, Birmingham, Wichita, and Pomona. There is also record of her exhibiting in the Los Angeles County Fair in 1936.
Later on in her life, she voiced regret over losing her fiancé and never marrying. She expressed herself in other arts as well, writing free verse and writing her travel memoirs. She passed away with no living relatives.
Sources: Mail Tribune, Southern Oregon’s News Source, Obituary, April 17, 2005, Artists in California 1786 - 1940, Edan Milton Hughes, 3d ed.