Hoffmann, William E., 1896-1989
William E. Hoffmann was born on May 4, 1896 in Caldwell, Sumner County, Kansas to parents Herbert and Katie Elizabeth Henn Hoffmann. He graduated from Caldwell High School in 1914 and received degrees from both the University of Kansas and the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, his specialty in entomology. Hoffmann served in World War I in the Army as well as serving as an entomologist for the states of Kansas and Minnesota.
In June 1924, Hoffmann married Winifred Butcher of Cimarron, Gray County, Kansas. That same year he and his wife moved to Canton [Guangzhou], Kwangtun [Guangdong] Province, southern China where Hoffman took over as acting head of the biology department of Canton Christian College, which was renamed as Lingnan University in 1927.
In 1932 Hoffmann founded the Lingnan University Natural History Survey and Museum. He was the managing editor of the Lingnan Sicence Journal for several years. He made several biological collecting expeditions while living in China, particularly on the Island of Hainan, as well as into Taiwan and the Philippine Islands.
The Hoffmanns still resided in China when conflict between China and Japan erupted in 1937 after simmering for several decades following the first Sino-Japanese War. Hoffmann was responsible for 8,000 refugees at the Lingnan University Refugee Camp and was interned by the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was sent back to the United States in 1943 in an exchange of American and Japanese internees.
From 1944-1947 Hoffmann was associate curator of insects with the Smithsonian Institution. In 1947 he returned to China and remained there until 1951 before coming back to the United States, retiring from Lingnan University in 1953. He joined the University Press in Lawrence, Kan. at that time, retiring in 1962.
Winifred Butcher Hoffmann passed away November 26, 1986. William E. Hoffmann passed away September 12, 1989 in Lawrence, Kansas.