Dr. Gilbert H. Hoffman Papers and Research Collection
The Gilbert H. Hoffman Papers and Research Collection contains the research notes and photographs which Hoffman compiled and collected for the book, Dummy Lines Through the Longleaf, a history of sawmill operations and logging railroads in Southwest Mississippi during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition, it contains hundreds of photographs, both positive and negative images, of other railroads and logging operations principally in Mississippi, but also from other locations in the South and throughout the United States. These photographs date primarily from the late nineteenth century through the first half of the twentieth century.
Subsequent accessions are research materials generated by Dr. Gilbert H. Hoffman for his books, Steam Whistles in the Piney Woods, Vol. 1 (1998) and Vol. 2 (2002).
This collection would be of interest to researchers concerned with lumbering and sawmill operations in Mississippi during the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. In addition, it contains a wealth of information and photographic images concerning railroads and railroad locomotives, both in Mississippi and throughout the country.
- Creation: circa 1870-2004
Conditions Governing Access
Noncirculating; available for research.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Biographical / Historical
Dr. Gilbert Hay Hoffman, Jr. was born June 26, 1932 to Mary Cain Hawkins and Gilbert Hay Hoffman, Sr. in St. Louis, Missouri. Mrs. Hoffman was a native of Vaiden, Mississippi which her family helped to settle in the 1830s. Mr. Gilbert Hoffman, Sr. was the only son of Frederick Ludwig Hoffman and Ella George Hay. Frederick emigrated from Germany in 1884 and moved from job to job in such places as Cleveland, OH; St. Louis, MO; New Orleans, LA and then to the state of Georgia where he met and married Ella. Frederick became a noted statistician with the Prudential Insurance Company (where he developed actuarial methods for the insurance industry) and later the Biomedical Research Foundation. He was involved in the work of numerous national and world health organizations and helped to establish the American Cancer Society.
Gilbert Hoffman, Sr. died in 1935 and the family relocated to the Jackson, Mississippi area in 1937. Gilbert, Jr. developed a strong interest in airplanes and became the Mississippi Model Airplane Champion in 1948 and represented the state at the national championships in Kansas. After graduating from high school, he attended Mississippi State University where he received a Bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1954. While there he was involved in a sailplane research project. Thereafter he attended Johns Hopkins University on an academic scholarship. He worked in Texas and California for several aeronautics firms and attended Stanford University where he received a Master's degree in engineering mechanics in 1962. Hoffman continued working for the aeronautical industry in the field of fluid mechanics, then returned to Stanford University where he received a doctoral degree in 1970. After teaching for a year at the University of Southwest Louisiana, he accepted a job with McDonald Douglas Corporation in St. Louis. In 1976 he joined the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University where he also served on the graduate faculty and helped to establish the computational fluid dynamics program. He retired from the Applied Research Laboratory in 1992.
Hoffman and his wife Kalani returned to Mississippi in 1992 and chose to live in Hattiesburg after surveying the advantages of five communities in the State. They purchased the home of former United States House of Representatives Doorkeeper, William M. "Fishbait" Miller, and Hoffman now has the time to pursue his lifelong interest in the lumber industry and logging railroads. In 1992, after years of intensive research, he published Dummy Lines Through the Longleaf, a history of sawmill operations and logging railroads in Southwest Mississippi. Since that time, Hoffman worked is currently working on a similar history of Forrest and Lamar counties.
10 Cubic Feet (total)
Language of Materials
The collection is organized into nine series, which generally reflect the organization imposed by Dr. Hoffman. The principal organizational criteria of this collection is the size and format of the material. The first of these series contains more than two boxes of research files compiled by Hoffman in preparation for his book, and therefore focuses on the geographic area of Southwest Mississippi. These files are arranged alphabetically by the name of the lumber company or railroad. Most of the lumber companies had their own railroad for the purpose of hauling timber from the country-side to the mills. In some cases, there were various successor companies and other affiliations over the life of a particular operation. These files contain research notes, photographs, correspondence with former employees and other interested parties, copies of legal documents, newspaper and journal articles, and other related information.
Series two contains more than one hundred and fifty, four inch by five inch negatives of railroad locomotives, logging operations, saw mills, and the individuals associated with them. They are arranged alphabetically by the name of the company. Most, if not all, of these images depict Mississippi railroad and lumbering operations of the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. As with the following seven series of photographs, an accompanying box and folder list contains information about the approximate date of the image, individuals shown, details concerning the scene, and if the image is that of a locomotive, more detailed information about the type. Origin of the image is also frequently noted.
Series three follows the same pattern of arrangement and description as the previous series for larger five inch by seven inch negatives. Only sixteen images in twelve folders are a part of this group.
Series four contains six, eight inch by 10 inch negatives, relating to the Keystone Lumber and Improvement Company as well as the Norwood and Butterfield Company. Both located in southwest Mississippi.
Series five contains the largest number of images in the collection, more than two hundred and forty. These postcard size black and white prints measure approximately 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" and were produced with 122 size film. Like the other photographic series, these are arranged in folders, alphabetically by the name of the company. Most of these images depict locomotives. While the majority of them are for Mississippi or Louisiana companies, a large number of photographs are for the locomotives of widely scattered companies from throughout the United States.
Series six contains nearly one hundred and fifty postcard size negatives which measure approximately 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" and were produced with 122 size film. They are arranged in folders, alphabetically by the name of the company and are primarily images of locomotives. The majority of the negatives are for Mississippi companies, with more than forty depicting Mississippi Central Railroad locomotives. However, there are some images from companies located in Louisiana, Missouri, and other states.
Series seven consists of both prints and negatives from 116 size film which has a finished print size of approximately 2 3/4" by 4 1/2". These seventeen images are arranged and described in the same manner as the other series and with the exception of two images are all for Mississippi companies.
Series eight contains more than thirty large black and white prints (6" x 10") of Mississippi Central Railroad locomotives. Most of these photographs are copies of prints or negatives that are housed and listed in previous series of this collection which contain photographic formats of other sizes and types.
It is the practice of the archives to designate each unique photographic image with a unique number. Duplicate copies of an image bear the same number regardless of the size or format. This two part numbering system begins with the images contained in series two, four inch by five inch negatives. The first part of each number is the Hoffman manuscript collection number, M272. The second part of each number is a sequential whole number beginning with the number one assigned to the first image contained in series two (M272-1) and ending with the last unique image in the collection, M272-620. These numbers are usually the last entry in each folder description contained in the box and folder list. In most cases, duplicate images are cross referenced in the box and folder list.
Since most of the photographs contained in series one, research files, are duplicates of images contained in series two through eight, the numbering sequence was begun with series two, four inch by five inch negatives. However, thirty-six images (numbers M272-590 through M272-620, M272-158 through M272-160, M272-323,and M272-521) contained in the research files are unique images,and therefore these photograhs and numbers are located only in series one. In addition, for those images located in the research files that were used in the book, Dummy Lines Through the Longleaf, the page on which they appeared is noted on the photograph sleeve.
Series nine, the final body of material in the collection, contains maps of railroad lines and sawmill operations in southwest Mississippi that were used to illustrate Hoffman's book. The page on which the map appeared in the book is noted in the box and folder list. The collection does not include all the maps that appeared in the book.
1. Research Files (Boxes 1-3)
2. 4" x 5" Negatives (Boxes 3-4)
3. 5" x 7" Negatives (Box 5)
4. 8" x 10" Negatives (Box 5)
5. Postcard Size Prints (3 1/2" x 5 1/2") (Boxes 5-6)
6. Postcard Size Negatives (3 1/2" x 5 1/2") (Boxes 6-8)
7. Prints & Negatives from 116 Size Film (2 3/4" x 4 1/2") (Box 8)
8. Large Prints (6" x 10") (Box 8)9) Maps (Box 8 and Map Case)
Donated in October and December 1993, by Dr. Gilbert H. Hoffman, the creator, collector, and compiler of the materials.
Existence and Location of Copies
For Digitized Materials from this collection, see: External Documents link at bottom of page.
Copies of Gilbert Hoffman's books are available in the Cook, McCain, and Gulf Coast Libraries:
Dummy Lines Through the Longleaf: A History of the Sawmills and Logging Railroads of Southwest Mississippi (Oxford: Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi, 1992), call number TF24.M7 H64 1992 (McCain).
Steam Whistles in the Piney Woods: A History of the Sawmills and Logging Railroads of Forrest and Lamar Counties, Mississippi (Hattiesburg, Miss.: Longleaf Press, 1998), call number HD9767.U6 M7 1998 Vol. 1 (Cook, McCain, and Gulf Coast).
Steam Whistles in the Piney Woods: A History of the Sawmills and Logging Railroads of Forrest and Lamar Counties, Mississippi (Hattiesburg, Miss.: Longleaf Press, 1998), call number HD9767.U6 M7 1998 Vol. 2 (Cook and McCain).
- Dr. Gilbert H. Hoffman Papers and Research Collection
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository
118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001