Mary Louise Hancock was born in Franklin, NH July 5, 1920, the daughter of Herbert and Amanda (Lambert) Hancock. When she was eight years old the family moved to Concord where her father owned and operated Hancock's Drug Store, a familiar meeting place for legilators and other state officials for many years. Much of her childhood was spent hanging around the drugstore at 132 N. Main St.
She has three brothers, all of whom have been associate with with the government of NH. Parker, as the warden of the NH State Prison, William as the superintendent of Navigation for the Department of Saftey, and Stuart, an insurance agent, as a legislator.
Mary Louise surmounted a few personal problems in her journey to success. Stricken with poliomyelitis when she was threee and one half, she has never allowed the limited use of her left leg to slow her down or to interfere with anything she wanted to do. She was a bit of a tomboy as a child, even to playing football and hockey. "My handicap," she said "has never been a problem to me for I've grown up with it. The ones I feel sorry for are those people who have been handicapped later in life."
Early on she showed her independent thinking, early, thogh she grew up in a Republican family, she gave her allegiance to the Democractic party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. "I became an adherent of FDR at an early age." she said. "His programs seemed designed to help people who couldn't help themselves."
Miss Hancock graduated from Concord High School in 1937, and following a postgraduate course, recieved her BA in English from the University of New Hampshire in 1942.
After graduating from the UNH, she got her first job at $750 a year as a stenographer with the State Board of Education.