David Hoffman papers Edit


MSS 243 large


  • 1911-1913 (Creation)


  • .4 Linear Feet (Whole)
    1 box (14 folders)



  • Scope and Contents

    The Hoffman papers include correspondence, a personal journal, and a collection of photographs. The letters (1911-1913), written to Hoffman's brothers, Donald and Rip, and his father, begin when he reaches "Bussellville" (Brazzaville) on the "last lap" of his journey to the Belgian Congo. He describes his earlier stops at Brussels, Waterloo, Antwerp, Teneriffe, Sierra Leone, Portuguese Congo, Luibi (a village), and Kinshasa. In Kinshasa, Hoffman describes his encampment and living conditions, meeting a famed elephant hunter, Buckley, and an invasion of large ants in the village. He also documents native customs, and his critical references to local people and servants reflect the attitude of most Europeans in Africa during that period. Hoffman's journal gives an account of his sea voyage to Europe and Africa. The photographs depict the landscape of the Belgian Congo, and the gatherings, village life, workers, and forms of dress of the local people.

  • Biographical / Historical

    David Hoffman (1882-1975) was an engineer from Butte, Montana, who traveled to Africa in 1911 as a member of a geographical and topographical survey team prospecting for oil, gold and copper. He spent 16 months working on the Brunton survey in the Belgian Congo.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    The material is stored offsite in Remote Storage. Please contact Special Collections 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Hoffman's son, Ripley J. Hoffman, 1990

  • Arrangement

    The papers are arranged by correspondence and then by diaries.

  • Preferred Citation

    Item, Folder number and/or title, Box number, David Hoffman Papers, MSS 243, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

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