Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Content

Collection Arrangmen

Restrictions

Subject Index

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Robert Hoffman’s Business Materials, 1941 March 13-1957 December 26

Olympic Materials, 1948-1980

Competition Materials 1932-1976, undated

Publications, 1914-1975 January, undated

Books on Shelf, 1925-1945

Robert Hoffman Personal Material, 945 June-1983, undated

Miscellaneous Materials, 1945 March 20-1972 November, undated

Photographs,

Duplicates

The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center

The Robert Hoffman Collection

A Finding Aid to the Collection at the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Robert Hoffman
Title: The Robert Hoffman Collection
Inclusive dates: 1914-1983
Abstract: The Robert Hoffman Collection is comprised of Robert Hoffman’s personal papers as well as records pertaining to his role in 20th century physical culture as a weightlifter, entrepreneur, coach, author, magazine editor, and instructor. The documents primarily consist of correspondence related to Hoffman’s York Barbell Company; Strength and Health publishing company exercise, equipment, and supplements business; as well as personal correspondence. Other materials include publications, advertising material, photographs, trophies, and international and Olympic competition memorabilia. The materials in this collection date from 1914-1983, with the bulk of the records documenting the period between the 1940s and the mid 1960s.
Quantity: 14 Boxes: 112 Folders, 115 Artifacts, 2 Books
Language: English
Repository: H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Note

Robert Collins Hoffman was born to Addison and Bertha Hoffman on November 9, 1898, in Tifton, Georgia. In 1903, Hoffman and his family moved to Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, where his father, an engineer, was a supervisor of dams on the Allegheny and Ohio River. Hoffman, who was 6' 3" by the age of thirteen, developed an early interest in athletics. He initially became involved in long-distance running and in water sports, competing in marathons and rowing championships.

In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Hoffman enlisted in the Army and deployed with the 111th Infantry. He received a battlefield commission commanding a company in the Forest of Argonne in northeastern France, and was awarded eleven decorations, including the Silver Star and the Order of Leopold, Belgium’s highest order. In 1920, after his return to the U.S., Hoffman moved to York, Pennsylvania, where he formed a business partnership with Ed Kraber, the designer of one of the country’s first automatic oil burners.

Hoffman first became interested in weightlifting in 1923 and formed the York Oil Burner Athletic Club, a team made up of employees from Kraber's company. In 1932, along with George Jowett, he created the Strength and Health Publishing Company and began to publish the magazine Strength and Health. Around this time, he also took on a leadership role in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), a national organization dedicated to amateur sports and physical fitness. In 1935, he bought the Milo Barbell Company. Three years later, he founded the York Barbell Company and sold York Oil Burner for $380,000. York, Pennsylvania became a national center for weightlifting, and Hoffman grew increasingly prominent in the field. He wrote dozens of books on the subject, coached the U.S. Olympic team from 1948 to 1956, and himself won over 600 awards in the course of his career. Hoffman promoted the use of health foods and dietary supplements, as well as anabolic steroids, and continued his entrepreneurial endeavors by marketing his HI-PROTEEN powder as an aid in building muscle.

In 1928, Hoffman met and married Rosetta Snell, who had a child from a previous marriage. The two divorced in 1944. He later had relationships with Gracie Bard, Dorcas Lehman, and Alda Ketterman, a fellow weightlifter who became his common-law wife. By the 1960s, Hoffman’s career was in decline, as his teams no longer sustained their winning records and customers complained that his supplements were not accurately labeled. In 1964, he began to publish the magazine Muscular Development and shifted his area of interest to bodybuilding. Throughout the 1970s, he regained some of his fame through the philanthropy of his Hoffman Foundation, appearing on The Today Show and The Mike Douglas Show, being featured in Reader’s Digest, and meeting President Richard Nixon. Hoffman underwent heart bypass surgery in 1977. He died of heart disease in York, Pennsylvania, on July 18, 1985.

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Scope and Content

14 Boxes: 112 Folders, 115 Artifacts, 2 Books (1914-1983)

The Robert Hoffman Collection is comprised of Robert Hoffman’s personal papers as well as records pertaining to his role in 20th century physical culture as a weightlifter, entrepreneur, coach, author, magazine editor, and instructor. The documents primarily consist of correspondence related to Hoffman’s York Barbell Company; Strength and Health magazine, exercise equipment, and supplements business; as well as personal correspondence. Other materials include publications, advertising material, photographs, trophies, and international and Olympic competition memorabilia.

The materials in this collection date from 1914-1983, with the bulk of the records documenting the period between the 1940s and the mid 1960s. The majority of the records are geographically centered around York, Pennsylvania, specifically, Hoffman’s oil burner company, the York Barbell Company, and Strength and Health, which all operated from 51 N. Broad Street in York, PA.

Many of the documents in the collection relate to Hoffman’s business interests, including York Barbells, Strength and Health magazine, and his nutritional supplement HI-PROTEEN. Hoffman’s involvement with the United State’s Olympic weightlifting team, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), and international weightlifting competitions is also well represented in the collection. The Business Series contains a few documents connected to a court case involving charges that Hoffman sent obscene material via the United States Postal System.

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Collection Arrangmen

The arrangement scheme for the collection was imposed during processing in the absence of a usable original order.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Access to the Robert Hoffman Collection is restricted to visitors of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. The Stark Center welcomes access inquires and encourages research appointments. For more information, phone (512) 471-4890, email info@starkcenter.org, or visit www.starkcenter.org.

Use Restrictions

The Stark Center retains the right to limit the use of the Hoffman Collection under certain conditions. No copies of any materials in the collection may be made without permission.

Copyright

The user is cautioned that the publication of any of the contents of this collection may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the 1976 copyright act, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof for the duration of the copyright. Unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right, the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of an author or his publisher to secure permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing. This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Right to Privacy: Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center and the University of Texas at Austin assumes no responsibility.

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Subject Index

Books and Pamphlets
Competitions
1948 Summer Olympics
1980 Winter Olympics
AAU Senior Middle Atlantic Weight Lifting Championships
AAU Middle Atlantic Association Track and Field Championships
III Campeonato Centroamericano y del Caribe de Levantamiento de Pesas [Colombia, 1972]
XXV Campeonato Mundial de Levantamiento de Pesas [Peru, 1971]
X Campeonato Nacional de Levantamiento de Pesas [Argentina]
1946 Championnat du Monde de Poids et Haltères
1974 Deutscher Gewichtheber-Verband der DDR
Mr. Pakistan 1954 Contest
Philippines Weightlifting Federation 28th World Championships [Manila, 1974]
1963 PZPCiK - Polskiego Związku Podnoszenia Ciężarów i Kulturystyki
XVIII World and III Asian Weightlifting Championships [Tehran, 1965]
24th World Weightlifting Championships [Korea, 1970]
Key Names
DePietro, Joe
Jowett, George
Ishikawa, Emerick
Ketterman, Alda
Lehman, Dorcas
Stanczyk, Stanley
Stanko, Steve
Terlazzo, Tony
Terpak, John
Key Terms
Business
Competition
Health
Marketing
Nutrition
Olympic games
Physical fitness
Publishing
Sex education
Strength training
Weightlifting
Magazines
Newspapers
Organizations
Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

The Robert Hoffman Collection, H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, The University of Texas at Austin. [There is nos space between H. & J.]

Processing Info

The collection was processed in 2014 by Rebekah Curry, Michael Nugent, and Stephanie Tiedeken under the supervision of Brent Sipes. For information about the content of the collection, please write info@starkcenter.org or call 512-471-0991.

Text converted and EAD tagging provided by:

Rebekah Curry, Michael Nugent, and Stephanie Tiedeken under the supervision of Brent Sipes, 2014

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Detailed Contents List of Collection

 

Robert Hoffman’s Business Materials, 1941 March 13-1957 December 26
(52 Folders, 4 Artifacts)

Box Folder
1 1 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: General 1 of 5, 1941 March 13-1945 August 7
2 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: General 2 of 5, 1945 August 19-1946 January 23
3 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: General 3 of 5, 1946 February 8 -1946 September 7
4 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: General 4 of 5, 1946 September 28-1957 December 26
5 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: General 5 of 5, undated
6 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: Success, 1944 July 30-1946 April 7
7 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: Improvement, 1945 September 30-1950 July 1, undated
8 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: Readers, 1945 March 26-1946 May 28, undated
9 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: Men in Service, 1945 March 28-1946 February 12, undated
10 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: Boys, 1945 April 29-1948 March 7, undated
11 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: American Strength and Health League, 1945 April 3- September 21
12 Strength and Health Magazine Correspondence: Obscenity Court Case, 1945 May 18-November 5, undated
13 Strength and Health Magazine Article and Advertisement Drafts, undated
14 Strength and Health Magazine Clippings, undated
15 Strength and Health Magazine Edited Copy, undated
16 Strength and Health Magazines 1 of 2, 1941 September-1945 November
17 Strength and Health Magazines 2 of 2, 1947 February- 1956 February
18 Strength and Health Magazine Letterhead, undated
Box Folder
2 1 York Barbell Company Correspondence: Business, 1943 March 12-1959 October 13, undated
2 York Barbell Company Correspondence: Products, 1942 February 2-1949 January 2, undated
3 York Barbell Company Article and Advertisement Drafts 1 of 2, undated
4 York Barbell Company Advertisements, undated
Box Tray
7 2 York Barbell Company Printing Block, undated
Box Folder
2 5 York Barbell Company Course Guidebooks 1 of 3, undated
6 York Barbell Company Course Guidebooks 2 of 3, undated
7 York Barbell Company Course Guidebooks 3 of 3, undated
8 York Barbell Company Course Guidebook Draft, undated
9 York Barbell Company Foundry Blueprint, 1941 September 3
10 York Barbell Company Letterheads, undated
11 York Barbell Company Functional Isometric Contraction for Golf Training Manual, 1963
Box Tray
7 1 York Barbell Company Functional Isometric Contraction for Golf, 1963
Piece
2 York Barbell Company Functional Isometric Contraction for Golf Packaging, 1963
Piece
1 York Barbell Company York Doorway Gym Bar, 1966
Box Folder
2 12 HI-PROTEEN Correspondence: General, 1954 November 4-1956 April 19, undated
13 HI-PROTEEN Correspondence: Money Orders, 1954 January 7-October 29
14 HI-PROTEEN Correspondence: Testimonials, 1954 May 9-October 30
15 HI-PROTEEN Article and Advertisement Drafts 1 of 2, undated
16 HI-PROTEEN Article and Advertisement Drafts 2 of 2, undated
17 HI-PROTEEN Advertisements, 1972, undated
18 Bob Hoffman’s Sun Tan Lotion Correspondence, 1949 June 6-1956 February 24, undated
19 Bob Hoffman’s Sun Tan Lotion Article and Advertisement Drafts, undated
20 Bob Hoffman’s Sun Tan Lotion Advertisements, undated
21 Ted’s Restaurant Correspondence, 1943 February 2-1947 December 24
22 Brookside Park Correspondence, 1946-1948 April 19
23 Brookside Park Del-Phia Athletic Club Scorebook, undated
24 York Lighthouse Financial Records, 1948 March 31-May 31
25 Dover Advertising Agency Letterhead, undated
26 Bob Hoffman’s Athletic Rub Article and Advertising Drafts, undated
27 Bob Hoffman’s Burn Ease Article and Advertising Drafts, undated
28 BNA Rice Bran Oil Article and Advertising Drafts, undated
29 Protamin Article and Advertising Drafts, undated undated
30 Retail Sporting Good Dealers and Nutrition Store Lists, 1946 March 5- 1972 November
31 Magazine Issues Costs Ledger, 1972 January-1973 July
32 Business Advice Article and Advertising Drafts, undated
33 Robert Hoffman Article and Book Drafts, undated
34 Robert Hoffman Business Cards, undated

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Olympic Materials, 1948-1980
(5 folders, 22 artifacts)

Box Folder
3 1 Olympic Correspondence, 1948 February 20-1954 September 7
2 Olympic Programs, 1948-1980
3 Olympic Article Drafts, undated
4 Olympic Polish Pennants, 1972
Piece
3 Olympic Sport Congress: Envelope Bag, 1976
Box Folder
5 1 Souvenir Olympic Stamp Prints, 1948-1980
Box Tray
8 2, Compartment 1-3 Olympic Souvenir Pins, 1948-1980
2, Compartment 4-5 Olympic Souvenir Memorabilia, undated

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Competition Materials 1932-1976, undated
(23 folders, 69 artifacts)

Box Folder
3 5 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Correspondence, 1945 May 9-1957 November 3, undated
6 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States: Mr. America Championship Programs, 1941 May 24
7 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Competition Score Results, circa 1932-1950 February 25
8 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Competition Entries, 1945 April 1-April 16
9 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States General Rules, 1947-1948
10 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Official Reports, 1947 October 6
11 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Minute Book, circa 1969
12 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States ledger, undated
13 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Letterhead, undated
14 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Amateur Athlete Magazine, 1945 April-1967 September
15 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Official Ribbon, undated
Box Tray
12 2 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Plaques, 1963
Box Piece
9 1 Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Technical Committee Ring Binder, undated
Box Folder
3 16 Competition Correspondence, 1945 June 25-1957 July 30, undated
17 Competition Souvenir Programs, 1947 April 19-1952 June 7
18 Competition Article Drafts, undated
Box Tray
12 2 Competition plaque, 1971
Box Folder
3 19 International Competition Programs, 1946-1954
20 International Competition Article Drafts, undated
21 International Competition Score Results, 1946 September 1-December 8, undated
22 International Competition: International Weightlifting Federation Reports, 1971
23 International Competition: World Weightlifting Championship Manila Press Kit (1 of 2), 1974
24 International Competition: World Weightlifting Championship Manila Press Kit (2 of 2,) 1974
25 International Competition: Pennants, 1963-1974, undated
26 International Competition: Central American and Caribbean Weightlifting Competition Pennant,s 1972
27 International Competition Postcard, undated
Box Tray
8 1, Compartment 1-8 International Competition: International Weightlifting Competition Souvenir Pins, undated
Box Tray
10 2, Compartment 1-4 International Competition: International Weightlifting Competition Plaques, undated
Box Tray
8 1, Compartment 12 International Competition: International Weightlifting Competition Medals (1 of 2), undated
Box Tray
10 1, Compartment 4 International Competition: International Weightlifting Competition Medals (2 of 2), undated
Box Tray
8 1, Compartment 9-11 International Competition: International Weightlifting Competition Miscellaneous Memorabilia (1 of 2), undated
Box Tray
10 1, Compartment 1-3 International Competition: International Weightlifting Competition Miscellaneous Memorabilia (2 of 2), undated
Box Piece
9 2 International Competition: Envelope Bags (1 of 2), 1966-1969
4 International Competition: Envelope Bags (2 of 2), undated

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Publications, 1914-1975 January, undated
(22 folders)

Box Folder
5 2 Newspapers (1 of 2), 1941 January 31-1950 May 1
3 Newspapers (2 of 2), 1978 November 9-1986 February 14
4 Newspapers: WHEN: World Health and Ecology News, circa 1975
Box Folder
3 28 Physical Culture Magazines (1 of 2), 1916 May-1947 September 1948 June, undated
29 Physical Culture Magazines (2 of 2), 1947 September 1948 June, undated
30 Health Magazines, 1938 August-1960 July
31 Current Event Magazines, 1945 February 2-1946 February 11
32 Sports Magazines, 1946 March-1947 November
33 Automobile Magazines, 1947 June- 1947 September
34 Science Magazines, undated
Box Folder
5 6 Soviet Life Magazine, 1978 August
Box Folder
3 35 Physical Culture Exercise Booklets, 1938-1954, undated
Box Folder
4 1 Little Lesson in Corrective Eating Booklets, Eugene Christian, Lesson VI-XXIV, 1914
2 Health Booklets (1 of 2), 1929-1943
3 Health Booklets (2 of 2), 1929-1946, undated
4 Political Booklets, 1941 July
5 Coin Collecting Booklets, 1936
6 Burrelle’s Press Clipping Service Clippings 1 of 2, 1947 December 7-1948 January 2
7 Burrelle’s Press Clipping Service Clippings 2 of 2, 1948 January 3-September 26, undated
8 Clippings, 1945 March 29-1955 April 22, undated
Box Folder
5 5 The National Health Federation 20th Annual Convention Souvenir Program, 1975 January
Box Folder
4 9 Miscellaneous Published Material, undated

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Books on Shelf, 1925-1945
(2 items)

George Westinghouse His Life and Achievements, by Dr. Frank Crane, 1925
The Male Hormone, by Paul De Kruif, 1945

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Robert Hoffman Personal Material, 945 June-1983, undated
(4 folders, 20 artifacts)

Box Folder
4 10 Robert Hoffman Personal Correspondence, 1945 June 12-1954 November, undated
11 Alda Ketterman’s Proposed Apartment Blueprints, 1965 May 28-1967 May 28
12 Personal Souvenir Programs, undated
Box Tray
11 2, Compartment 3-4 Personal Plaques (1 of 2), 1962 April 14-1976
Box Tray
12 1 Personal Plaques (2 of 2), 1967
Box Tray
11 3 Personal Medal, 1983
Box Tray
12 1 President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Paperweight, undated
Box Tray
9 1, Compartment 1 National College Championship Appreciation Calendar Clock, 1968
Box Tray
12 4 Robert Hoffman Father of Weightlifting Ball-point Pens undated
3 Personal Rubber Stamp, undated
Box Tray
9 1, Compartment 2 Personal Miscellaneous Memorabilia (1 of 5), undated
Box Tray
11 1 Personal Miscellaneous Memorabilia (2 of 5), undated
2, Compartment 1-2 Personal Miscellaneous Memorabilia (3 of 5), undated
1 Personal Miscellaneous Memorabilia (4 of 5), undated
Box Tray
12 3 Personal Miscellaneous Memorabilia (5 of 5), undated
Box Tray
8 2, Compartment 6 Miscellaneous Golf tees, undated
Box Folder
4 13 Personal Miscellaneous Stationery, undated

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Miscellaneous Materials, 1945 March 20-1972 November, undated
(6 folders)

Box Folder
4 14 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1945 March 20-1972 November, undated
15 Miscellaneous Article and Advertising Drafts, undated
16 Miscellaneous Handwritten Notes 1 of 2, undated
17 Miscellaneous Handwritten Notes, 2 of 2, undated
18 Miscellaneous Materials, undated
19 Miscellaneous Empty Envelopes, 1945 March 22-1956 August 31, undated

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Photographs,
(1 Box)

Box
6 Photographs

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Duplicates
(2 Boxes)

Box
13 Duplicates
Box
14 Duplicates

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