Fonds F0705 - Arnold Hoffman fonds

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Arnold Hoffman fonds

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0.74 m of textual records
65 photographs
54 technical drawings
25 maps

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Biographical history

Arnold Hoffman (1903-1962) was a geologist, prospector, author, and New York executive. He was born in East Boston, Massachusetts, one of four sons of a Russian immigrant tailor. He was educated at Roxbury Latin School and graduated from Harvard University with a degree in geology in 1925.

Arnold first visited Canada in June 1922, accompanying his brother Robert, to prospect for gold near Larder Lake in northeastern Ontario. Arnold and Robert prospected together for several years and staked many claims across Canada. They became involved in early gold mining efforts in Eastern Quebec. In 1923, they staked several acres in Joannes Township, near Bousquet, Quebec. Hoffman discovered gold there in 1924 but was initially hindered by a lack of resources. This strike eventually became the property of Arrowhead Gold Mines Limited and was one of Hoffman's most profitable ventures. The brothers became associated with the gold mining industry in Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, especially the Thompson-Lundmark Gold Mines, near Yellowknife.

In 1947, Hoffman published a book, Free Gold: The Story of Canadian Mining (New York: Rinehart & Company, 1947, 420 p.; reissued by McGraw-Hill, in 1982). Free Gold describes Hoffman’s early experiences as a prospector and details the history of the Canadian gold mining industry.

Hoffman was primarily involved in the financial side of gold mining as a stockholder in New York. In 1936, he and his brother, Robert, were elected as Secretary-Treasurer and President of Gold Operators (Canada) Limited, and in 1948, Arnold was made a director of the company. Arnold Hoffman was a major shareholder of the Thompson Prospecting Syndicate and became president of Arrowhead Gold Mines Limited in 1936. Gold Operators Inc. and Arrowhead Gold Mines entered an agreement in 1936 to create Syndicate Options Limited, with Arnold Hoffman as Secretary-Treasurer. As secretary of Gold Operators (Canada) Inc. and shareholder of the Thompson Prospecting Syndicate, Hoffman managed investments in many mines which included: Stadacona Rouyn, Sunset Yellowknife, Junior Frood, Coniaurum, Algood, Pershon, Resenor, Michipicoten, and Croydon Rouyn. In 1939, Hoffman attempted to create the Hoffman-Russell Molybdenum Syndicate to explore molybdenum deposits in Ontario, but the syndicate dissolved in 1941 due to economic issues related to the Second World War. In 1958, Hoffman was elected president of Mesabi Iron Company. By 1962, he was also president of Quebec Cobalt and Exploration, Ltd., and the Towne Mines Corporation.

The Hoffman Laboratory of Experimental Geology at Harvard University is named after Hoffman and his eldest brother, David. The building opened in 1963 following donations made by Hoffman and his brother Robert.

Custodial history

The fonds was acquired from Patrick McGahern Books in Ottawa in 2014. Previously, the fonds was in the custody of Hugh MacMillan.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the records created and accumulated by Arnold Hoffman as a prospector and stockholder, relating to gold mining operations in Ontario, Quebec, and the Northwest Territories. Records relating to the gold mines at Wright-Rouyn, Arrowhead, and Thompson-Lundmark include: maps and sketches, photographs, geological studies, reports, and assay reports. Files also contain records pertaining to Stadacona Rouyn, Sunset Yellowknife, Junior Frood, Coniaurum, Algood, Pershon, Resenor, Michipicoten, Croydon Rouyn, and El Canada mines, including geological reports, and correspondence. Records related to Hoffman’s stocks and business operations as Secretary of Gold Operators (Canada) Ltd. include stockholder lists, securities lists, annual reports, meeting minutes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, cheques, and contracts.

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The files were arranged by the archivist in order to reflect the creator’s activities and affairs.

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The Robert D. Hoffman (1898-1975) papers are located in the Arthur Lakes Library at the Colorado School of Mines. The papers include accounts of his experiences as a student at Harvard University, his early work with Arnold Hoffman at Rouyn, Quebec in 1922-1923, and records related to the operation of Gold Operators (Canada) Ltd., Quebec Cobalt and Exploration Ltd., Mesabi Iron Company, and Sunset Yellowknife Mines Limited.

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Created by Christopher Long, 5 May 2017

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