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Hoffman Family Papers

Identifier: 1999-0106

Scope and Content

The correspondence consists mainly of letters either from or to Abbie, Jack, or Florence, their mother. Also included are numerous sympathy cards to the Hoffman family following Abbie's death. While the family papers contain items of the family's private side, it also includes evidence of their participation in political campaigns and research for books and articles. The collection of written work focuses on Abbie's work and his life. The bulk of the collection consists of copies of government records, newspaper stories, and magazine articles. Both the New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation maintained extensive records of Abbie Hoffman's activities. In addition to numerous news articles about Abbie, there is substantial coverage of the 1988 presidential elections. Artifacts include awards, political pins and posters, and clothing Abbie often wore for speeches, demonstrations, or on his book covers. Audio/visual material include two cassettes with friends and supporters reading Abbie Hoffman's work, and various 16mm films of Hoffman family vacations and events which have been digitized. Most of the photographs are family photographs taken from scrapbooks.


  • undated, 1933-1998.


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright. Several items have been restricted because of the fragility of the original, including correspondence from Abbie to others. Facsimiles of all correspondence are available in the appropriate series. Contact the archivist for further information.


Abbot Howard Hoffman ("Abbie") was born November 30, 1936 in Worcester, Massachusetts. He studied psychology with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University, where he graduated in 1959 with a B.A. He then completed a year of graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley. His growing participation in the various counter-culture movements led to his arrest and subsequent trial as a member of the Chicago 7 following the 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention. He co-founded the Yippie movement and was a vocal activist for civil rights, ending the Vietnam War, and other social movements. Following his arrest for selling cocaine in 1973, he jumped bail and spent the next seven years as a fugitive, sometimes traveling abroad while continuing to write and protest before reemerging in 1980. After serving a brief jail term, Abbie continued to write both articles and books, work with community groups in organizing local protests, and visit campuses to speak with students about taking civil and political action until his death in April of 1989.

Abbie Hoffman authored numerous articles and books. His works include: Revolution for the Hell of It, 1968, Woodstock Nation, 1969, Steal This Book, 1971, Vote (co-authored with Jerry Rubin and Ed Sanders), 1972, To America with Love (co-written with Anita Hoffman), 1976, Soon to be a Major Motion Picture, 1980, Square Dancing in the Ice Age, 1982, Steal this Urine Test (co-authored with Jonathon Silvers), 1987, Preserving Disorder: The Faking of the President (co-written with Jonathon Silvers), 1988, and The Best of Abbie Hoffman (co-edited with Daniel Simon), 1989.

Jack Hoffman was born September 13, 1939 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following two years of service with the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Jack took over the family business, Worcester Medical Supply Co., from his father. Jack participated in various demonstrations and campaigned actively for the election of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and Shirley Chisholm in 1972.

Anita Hoffman, who became Abbie's second wife on June 8, 1967, accompanied Abbie during many of his protests and demonstrations but was left behind to care for their son, america, when Abbie jumped bail in 1974. In 1976 she published a series of letters they exchanged to keep in touch entitled "To America with Love."

Rose Shanberg, Abbie and Jack's maternal aunt, left a diary describing her struggles as a young college student and the effect of her brother Abraham's untimely death.


9 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The principal members of the Hoffman family present in the collection are John and Florence Hoffman; Abbie, Jack, and Phyllis, their children; Rose Shanberg, Florence's sister; and Anita Hoffman, Abbie's second wife. Other family members that appear in the collection include Joan Hoffman, Jack's wife; Sheila, Andrew, and Ilya "Amy" Hoffman, Abbie's first wife and children; america, Abbie and Anita's son; and Johanna Lawrenson, Abbie's common-law wife.


The collection consists of family correspondence, article research and personal papers, written material by and about Abbie Hoffman, copies of government files and newspaper articles, 16 mm films of the family, and personal photographs.

Series I: Correspondence (undated, 1971-1995) is divided amongst the three main participants; Abbie, Jack, and Florence Hoffman. One other significant part is the condolence cards following Abbie's death. The letters are filed chronologically, with undated letters in the front of the file.

Series II: Family Papers (undated, 1953-1994) This series contains two groups. Papers related to the personal life of the family are arranged alphabetically first, followed by a group of papers that seem to be research material for articles and books, also organized alphabetically.

Series III: Written materials (undated, 1933-1996) are clearly divided between those written by Hoffman family members and other authors. The papers are organized alphabetically first by author, then by title. The collection includes work from Abbie, Anita, and Jack Hoffman, as well as the diary of Rose Shanberg, Abbie and Jack's aunt. Drafts of Jack Hoffman's biography of his brother entitled Run, Run, Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman which evolved under numerous working titles including "Abbie: One Step Ahead", "Abbie: Three Steps Ahead", "A Brother's Story", "Dear Abbie", and "Three Moves Ahead..." are included here. Drafts, manuscripts, interviews, and program scripts about Abbie Hoffman and his work, including copies of various Yippie pamphlets, are arranged alphabetically.

Series IV: Government Documents (undated, 1965-1980) and Series V: Newspaper and Periodical Clippings (n.d, 1936-1997) include records from the FBI, NYCPD, and other police reports have been arranged chronologically. Multiple dates often appeared on individual papers, so papers were organized with the latest date mentioned internally within the document itself, not simply stamped or written on the page. Newspaper and periodical clippings were arranged chronologically.

Series VI: Artifacts (undated, 1955-1998), Series VII: Audio/Visual Materials (undated) , and Series VIII: Photographs (undated, 1944-1989). Large posters have been stored in the Oversize area. Cassette tapes and 16mm home movies have been grouped topically. Included with the family photographs are photocopies of original family photos not found in the collection.


The collection has been organized topically and alphabetically or chronologically.

Acquisition Information

The collection in its entirety was donated by Jack Hoffman.


Additional materials were donated in 2001 but have not yet been processed and integrated into the collection.

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial holdings reflecting the underground, alternative and counter cultures emerging in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

Separated Material

Audio Recordings on LP have been seperated and can be found in the Dodd LP Collection as follows:

-Direct News: Week of 8/6-8/10/1979 (Abbie Hoffman; Rep. Stewart McKinney; Rep. Robert Edgar; John Badham; William Goldsby; Lene Lovich; Lansing Lamont; Judy Blume; Kansas) 1999-0106/LP4

-Direct News: Week of 8/13-8/17/1979 (Abbie Hoffman; G. Robert Blakey; Dr. Gerard O'Neill; Ron Powers; Stephen Stills; John Striker; Michelle Stevens; B.B. King) 1999-0106/LP6

-Direct News: Week of 8/20-8/24/1979 (Abbie Hoffman; Kathleen Newland; Bev Bevan/ELO; Louis Wolf; Richard Pollack; Rachel Sweet; Frank Yablans; Rose Goldsen; Spyro Gyra) 1999-0106/LP5

-Direct News: Week of 8/27-8/31/1979 (Abbie Hoffman; Barry Commoner; Robert Palmer; Louise Wolf; Charles Martin Smith; Renaissance; Jerry Grey; Wilbur Cross; Dixie Dregs) 1999-0106/LP7

-Direct News: Week of 10/8-10/12/1979 (Kate Millett; The Allman Bros. Dr. Richard Selzer; John Schlesinger; Jerry Rubin) 1999-0106/LP3

-Direct News: Week of 10/22-10/26/1979 (Jerry Rubins; Ruth Montgomery; Cheap Trick; Dr. Richard Selzer; James Woods) 1999-0106/LP2

-Wake Up, America!: Abbie Hoffman Sings on His Friends the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Big Toe Records, 1969?) 1999-0106/LP1

The following newspapers and magazines were originally part of the collection. Where possible, pertinent articles were photocopied and placed within the collection before the originals were removed. Most of the issues are stored in their entirety either on microform at the Homer Babbidge Library (HBL) or within the Alternative Press Collection kept in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Copies of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Campaigns & Elections, Chicago History, High Times, National Lampoon, New York Post, New York Press, Parade, People, Philadelphia Intelligencer/Record, Saturday Night, USA Today are available through interlibrary loan on microform.

For information on specific issues of these titles originally held in the collection, please contact the curator.

Abbie Hoffman at Vanderbilt 1999-0106.vr2


Becker, Theodore and Anthony Dodson. Live this Book: Abbie Hoffman's Philosophy for a Free and Green America. Chicago, IL: Noble Press, 1991. Hoffman, Jack and Daniel Simon. Run, Run, Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman. New York, NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1994. Jezer, Marty. Abbie Hoffman, American Rebel. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992. Raskin, Jonah and Eric Foner. For the Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman. CA: University California Press, 1997. Sloman, Larry. Steal this Dream: Abbie Hoffman and the Counterculture Revolution Against America. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1998.
Hoffman Family Papers
Archives & Special Collections staff
2002 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US