Looker, Antonina Hansell, 1898-1987.

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Antonina Hansell Looker was an author, teacher, and psychiatric worker of Atlanta and Lakemont, Rabun County, Ga., and New York City. Antonina worked as an assistant to various psychiatrists in New York in the late 1930s, and, with her second husband, published a novel, Revolt, in 1967. Her first husband was John Elwood Macdonald of Frogmore, with whom she had a son James Ross Macdonald.

From the description of Antonina Hansell Looker papers, 1836-1996. WorldCat record id: 31908785

Antonina Jones Hansell was born 23 February 1898 in Atlanta, Ga., the daughter of Andrew Jackson Hansell and Annis Elise Compton Hansell.

Antonina (known variously as Nina, Tony, and Toni) grew up in Atlanta and attended school there. From a very early age, she wanted to be a writer. Throughout her life, she wrote short stories, poems, and novels, but was largely unsuccessful in getting her work published.

After she finished high school, Antonina Hansell began teaching French. During World War I, she taught at Fort MacPherson and at Camp Gordon, both in Georgia. She also taught for three years at Mrs. Lovett's Private School in Atlanta. In 1918, she took a certificate at the Harvard Summer School in Cambridge, Mass.

In 1920, Antonina Hansell married John Elwood (Jack) Macdonald of Frogmore, South Carolina. They had a son James Ross (Ross) Macdonald in 1923. Jack and Antonina were divorced in 1933. After the divorce, Antonina began using her maiden name again.

In the late 1920s, Antonina Hansell began working as a psychiatric aide in private duty and in public institutions in Atlanta, as well as in the northeast. From 1929 to 1931, she worked at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. While there, she attended the Pennsylvania School of Social Work. Returning to Atlanta, she was an assistant to Dr. W. W. Young from 1933 to 1934. She also took a course in psychological testing at Emory University and taught courses at the YMCA.

Around 1935, Antonina Hansell decided to move to New York City, hoping to earn the money she would need to send Ross, who had been living in Georgia with his maternal grandparents, to a boarding school. The issue of Ross's schooling caused much conflict between Jack Macdonald and Antonina.

In New York, Antonina studied with Bernard Gluek, Alfred Adler, and others. However, she never actually received a degree in any discipline from any institution.

For six months in 1935, Antonina was the director of Psychiatric Social Service at Lenox Hill Hospital. In 1940, she worked at the National Hospital for Speech Disorders. Also in 1940, she organized a school called the Children's Group and was its director until 1942. From 1941 to 1942, she was a part time aide at the Walt Whitman School. Apparently during this time, Antonina Hansell did some work with Benjamin Spock.

In 1944, Antonina went to work in a naval hospital in Hawaii as a Red Cross volunteer. There she met Colonel Reginald Earle (Look) Looker. They were married in 1947.

The Lookers decided to settle at Hill House, Antonina's mother's home in Lakemont, Rabun County, Georgia. There, they hoped to support themselves by writing books. Earle Looker was already a published author, having written the non-fiction bestseller The White House Gang, which described the adventures of Theodore Roosevelt's children with whom Looker played as a child.

The Lookers' efforts to collaborate on novels largely failed. They did get one of their novels, called Revolt, published in England in 1967. Because it concerned what might have happened if the South had won the Civil War, no American publisher would take the project on, possibly because of the racial unrest at the time.

Since the Lookers could not support themselves by writing, they were largely supported by Antonina's mother and son.

In 1976, Earle Looker died of lung cancer. Antonina continued to live at Hill House alone until she accidentally drowned on 30 January 1987.

From the guide to the Antonina Hansell Looker Papers, 1836-1987, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Looker, Antonina Hansell, 1898-1987. Antonina Hansell Looker papers, 1836-1996. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Antonina Hansell Looker Papers, 1836-1987 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Austin, Edward R. person
associatedWith Austin family. family
associatedWith Buscaglia, Leo F. person
correspondedWith Confederate States of America. Army corporateBody
associatedWith Hensel family. family
associatedWith Jones, Howard Mumford, 1892-1980. person
associatedWith Looker, Reginald Earle. person
associatedWith Luker family. family
associatedWith Macdonald, James Ross. person
associatedWith Macdonald, John Elwood. person
associatedWith Nemerov, Howard. person
associatedWith Spock, Benjamin, 1903-1998. person
associatedWith Woodward, C. Vann (Comer Vann), 1908-1999. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Atlanta (Ga.)
United States
War neuroses--History--20th century
World War, 1939-1945--Psychological aspects
Women's dreams
Novelists, American--20th century
Women--Social life and customs
Authors, American--20th century
Aging--Psychological aspects
Dream interpretation
Music therapy
Child psychology--History--20th century
Psychics--History--20th century
Women authors, American--20th century
Mental health personnel--History--20th century


Birth 1898

Death 1987

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