Robert D. Hoffman Papers

Overview of the Collection

Hoffman, Robert D. 1898-1975
Collection, fl. 1920-1975
Contents: 3 archival boxes, ~3 linear feet

The Robert D. Hoffman Collection includes correspondence, maps, and business documents from Hoffman's career as a mining engineer from the 1920s-mid 1970s. Hoffman, the son of Russian immigrants, earned a graduate degree in mining engineering from Harvard University. He was involved in developing mining ventures in Canada, the U.S. West, and Mexico, sometimes in partnership with his brother Arnold Hoffman. Another brother, Irwin Hoffman, was an artist whose subjects included miners and mining scenes. Later in his career, Hoffman donated Harvard's Geology Laboratory building, dedicated to his brothers Arnold and David.

Of Note

  • Correspondence with Louis Caryl Graton, then a professor at Harvard University. John Vanderwilt, who later served as president of the Colorado School of Mines, was a contemporary.
  • Correspondence related to Hoffman's early professional career, including an account of his experiences at Rouyn, Canada, 1922-1923.
  • Operational documents and maps of the Sunset Yellowknife Gold Mines, Ltd. property in Canada, where Hoffman was employed as Mining Geologist.
  • Mine maps and documents from properties including Gold Operators, Ltd., Esterly Mine, Smith Cobalt Mines Ltd., Quebec Platinum Mines Ltd., Dairy Farms Mine in California, and Consolidated Coppermines.


Robert D. Hoffman's papers were originally donated by his widow to the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. The collection was transferred to the Colorado School of Mines in 2007.


A summary of the Hoffman Collection is listed below. If you have items related to the Hoffman brothers that you would like to donate, please contact Lisa Dunn

Box 1     Contains notebooks and correspondence from Hoffman's education at Harvard (early 1920s), including correspondence with Louis C. Graton; correspondence with peers in the mining industry and government policy makers (1917-1977); and miscellaneous documents and photographs.

 File 1 Copy of correspondence concerning original gift of Hoffman Papers and books from Mrs. Robert Hoffman.
 Loose          Notebooks from Hoffman's studies at Harvard University (1921-1922). 
 File 2 Miscellaneous correspondence.
 File 3 Pamphlet, "A salute to the mining industry," by R. L. Smith, President, Michigan Technological University.
 File 4 Miscellaneous photographs, including a b&w photo of Robert Hoffman (1973).
 File 5 Reprints of two of Hoffman's published papers.
 File 6 Prospectus-type document for Amalgamated Silver Mines Company, Helena, Montana.
 File 7 Miscellaneous photographs and postcards (1917). Includes photos of the McIntyre Mine, Porcupine, Ontario, Canada.
 File 8 Correspondence and documents (1917-1972). Of note: An obituary for Arnold Hoffman; Diary of Robert D. Hoffman, "The Rouyn Rush, December 8, 1922 to January 11, 1923. The Spring of 1923: How I tied up with Quinny Shaw."
 File 9 Correspondence and miscellaneous materials (1917-1975). 
 File 10 Proposal on compressors from Mining Machinery & Supplies company (1945). 
 File 11 Manuscript of "The Bushwackers," a musical play about prospectors in northern Canada, written by Arnold Hoffman. 
 File 12-22 Sunset Yellowknife Mines Limited, Sunset Lake and Alice properties, Northwest Territories, Canada, papers (1938-1949). Includes maps and diagrams of workings, correspondence, operational records, core log records, and summaries of operations. Of note: An issue of the newspaper "The Yellowknife Blade: The New Colonial Advocate." 

Box 2     Contains documents for various mining operations in which Robert Hoffman was involved (1921-1965). Materials include operational documents, maps, diagrams, correspondence.

 File 1           Documents of Hoffman's early activities in mining after graduating from Harvard University (1921-1924), prospecting in Canada and with Calumet & Hecla Mining Company.
 File 2-6 Smith Cobalt Mines, Limited papers (1933-1936). Includes correspondence, maps of Smith Cobalt and O'Brien properties, diagrams of underground workings.  
 File 7-8 Consolidated Coppermines Company papers (1922-1939). Includes documents, reports, diagrams of underground development. Of note: A b&w photograph of the Coppermines staff and directors, including Hoffman, from Kimberly, Nevada (1935); a manuscript by Mark A. Smith titled "A discourse on tomorrow's mining," with illustrations. 
 File 9-10 Documents on mineral deposits in Rouyn and Quebec (1925-1936). Includes diagrams and related publications.  
 File 11 Papers from Bidgood-Kirkland Gold Mines and Gordon Lebel Mines Ltd. (1945-1949). 
 File 12 Papers on Slate Islands Mining Company, Ltd. (1963). 
 File 13-16 Quebec Platinum Mines Ltd. and Quebec Cobalt and Exploration Ltd. papers (1955-1965). Includes correspondence, reports and maps. 
 File 17 Scattered papers related to the Mesabi Iron Company and Reserve Mining Company (1939-1959) and Arnold Hoffman's involvement. 
 File 18 Miscellaneous maps (1920), published by the Ontario Bureau of Mines and Canadian Geological Survey, including maps of gold and silver areas. 
 File 19 Two copies of geologic maps of unknown areas, probably in Russia, possibly including the Ural Mountains. 

Box 3      Contains documents for various mining companies and operations in which Robert Hoffman was involved (1934-1956). Materials include operational documents, maps, diagrams and correspondence.

 File 1-4 Esterly Mine, Waldo district, Oregon, Gold Operators, Inc. papers (1933-1936). Includes correspondence, drill logs, operational records, photographs and maps.
 Loose           Notebook with field notes on trips to the Western U.S. and Canada for Gold Operators, Inc. (1934-1935). Includes some notes by Arnold Hoffman; detailed discussion of company property operations at Dairy Farm, California.
 File 5-7 Gold Operators (Canada) Ltd. papers (1950-1956). Robert Hoffman served as president of the company; Arnold Hoffman served as treasurer; both were shareholders. Includes documents related to the company's liquidation in 1956.
 File 8 Two field notebooks on American Metals Company claims in Duprat Township, Quebec (1927) and the Walker Lease, Cripple Creek (1930).
 Files 9-10 Calcite Operators, Inc. papers (1942-1944). Documents from Calcite Operators, Inc. in which Robert Hoffman, Arnold Hoffman, and Irwin Hoffman were involved. Includes Reports of Accounts (1942-1943); miscellaneous correspondence including wtih Polaroid Corporation; documents on the Palm Wash deposits, California and shipments in Montana.
 File 11 Loose pages from a field notebook of observations from different localities and notes from published works (1922-1952).
 Note box Miscellaneous loose notes (1920-1922). Most appear to be from college course sources.
 Loose Field notebooks (17) of Robert Hoffman and 1 notebook from Arnold Hoffman (1922-1964), referring to different properties.



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Last Updated: 07/28/2017 16:11:07