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Esther and Doris Hoffman Correspondence


Held at: Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Esther Hoffman served with the Intelligence Establishment of the Department of the Army for over forty-one years. She began as a clerk in the Military Intelligence Section, General Staff Corps, War Department on February 18, 1918. She was transferred as a clerk to the Quartermaster Corps of the Army in Peking, China from May 28, 1925 until December 24, 1942.


Doris Hoffman worked as a secretary for the League of Nations Commission in Peking, China between 1929 and 1934. She attended Western Maryland College where she studied to become a school teacher. After her sister, Esther Hoffman, was established in Peking, China as a clerk to the Quartermaster Corps of the Army, Esther began lobbying her parents to send two of her younger sisters, Doris and Margaret Hoffman over to work. While Margaret married and remained in Maryland, Doris traveled to Peking in 1929 to join her sister. Once arrived in Peking in about 1929, it took her some time to find employment as jobs were scarce. A secretary, she had several jobs but worked mostly for the League of Nations Commission. Doris was in Peking until 1934, returning home after marrying a marine in Tientsin, China.

The collection consists largely of letters written home by sisters Esther and Doris Hoffman while employed in Peking, China between 1925 and 1941. While Esther was employed as a clerk by the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army, Doris worked as a secretary for the League of Nations Commission in Peking. While most of the letters deal with their personal experiences in Peking, such as observations on local customs and culture, both sisters wrote about the political and military environment as well. In particular, the Hoffman sisters wrote from their perspective about the Mukden incident and the subsequent Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931.

In addition to four folders of letters from Esther and one from Doris, there is one folder of personell, retirement, and memorial materials related to Esther's life and career.

The collection was donated by Molly McDougald in 2024. The accession number associated with this donation is ML-2024-007.

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

The collection was processed by Will Clements in 2024. Materials were rehoused into acid free folders, but otherwise no physical arrangement was done at this time.

No materials were separated from this accession during 2024 processing.

Public Policy Papers
Finding Aid Author
Will Clements
Finding Aid Date
2024 May 2
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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Collection Inventory

Esther Hoffman Correspondence, 1925-1941. 4 folders.
Physical Description

4 folders

Esther Hoffman Personnel, Retirement, and Memorial Materials, 1942-1959. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Doris Hoffman Correspondence, 1930-1934. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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