Walter Kirtland Hancock was born in 1901 in St. Louis, where he attended the School of Fine Arts at Washington University. He continued his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and became a professor there from 1929 to 1967. During World War II he was one of the Army officers who worked to identify art stolen by the Nazis.
Among his works as a sculptor are a depiction of Christ that is on the central altar of the Washington National Cathedral, a statue of President James Madison for the Library of Congress, likenesses of U.S. Chief Justices Earl Warren and Warren E. Burger, secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, and former president George Bush. Hancock was a 1989 recipient of a Presidential Medal of Art, and he also received the Herbert Adams Medal of the National Sculpture Society. He published his autobiography, "A Sculptor's Fortunes," in 1997.
He married the former Saima Natti in 1943; she died in 1984. Hancock died December 30, 1998, at his home on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. [Compiled from sources and references recorded on CMS]
"Sculptor Walter Hancock, 97, Dies." The Washington Post, 3 January 1999: B6.