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Christian Balzac Hoffman papers

Call Number: RH MS 92


C.B. Hoffman, born in Atzmoos, Switzerland in 1851, came at age 3 to the United States with his family. The collection primarily consists of materials related to Hoffman's activities as a socialist from 1910-1915, containing correspondence, manuscript articles and notes by Hoffman, and scattered personal and business papers.


  • Creation: 1889 - 1917


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Christian Balzac Hoffman (1851-1915)

C.B. Hoffman, born in Atzmoos, Switzerland, 1851, came at age 3 to the United States with his family. After traveling on the East coast, the family settled in Enterprise, Kansas in 1860, where Hoffman received his early schooling. He later attended Central Wesleyan College in Warrenton, Missouri, and in 1873 he and his father became partners in the Enterprise Mills, which included flour, woolen, and saw mills, a retail lumber yard and a town company. Hoffman was associated with several other business enterprises in the 1880s, the most unusual of which was the Kansas Sinaloa Investment Company, chartered in 1889. Hoffman accompanied the first group of colonists to the Sinaloa, Mexico site, and stayed at the colony until April 1891.

Hoffman and his father were active in the milling industry and lobbying for the industry. Hoffman was also involved in irrigation in central Kansas and constructed an irrigating plant on the Smoky Hill River north of Enterprise.

Hoffman was active in civic and political affairs. He served on the high school board, on the city council and two terms as mayor. From 1894-1901 he was a member of the Board of Regents of the Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan (now known as Kansas State University). He was one of several organizers of the Harrison Normal College in Enterprise. His political activities included a term in the Kansas House of Representatives and a bid for state senator on the Republican ticket. In 1890 he joined the People's Party, and between 1890-1900, he was considered as a candidate for governor. In 1895, Hoffman wrote "Populism--Its Future," where he depicted a fairly bright future for the populist movement. Throughout this period he aligned himself with the Democrats.

1900 was a turning point in Hoffman's life, as his emerging socialist's beliefs became increasingly incomprehensible to the citizens of Enterprise. Thus, in 1904 he moved to Kansas City to establish the Banking Trust Company, a short-lived enterprise, which failed in the 1907 panic. In 1910, he divorced his first wife, Catherine, and married Anna Ware of Kansas City, Missouri. In that same year he retired from business to devote himself full-time to the cause of socialism.

Christian Balzac Hoffman edited the Chicago Daily Socialist and lectured under the auspices of their lecture bureau in eight states. He ran as the Socialist Party candidate for the United States Senate in 1914, and his wife Anna ran for Lieutenant Governor. In that same year he was a founder of People's College at Fort Scott, Kansas. A dispute over a strike at the Kansas Flour Mills in Kansas City, managed by his son, forced him to resign the presidency of Peoples College in September. Hoffman died unexpectedly in July 1915.


3 Linear Feet (3 boxes + 4 volumes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 92

Physical Location

RH MS D119

Other Finding Aids

NUCMC: MS 80-368

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Reed Hoffman, 10 April 1970.

Guide to the Christian Balzac Hoffman Collection
Christian Balzac Hoffman papers
Finding aid prepared by pg, October 1975 and May 1976. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Christian Balzac Hoffman papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 92, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States