The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence (1911-1947), the majority of which (1917-1945, undated) centers around Mrs. Hoffman's interest in North Carolina at Bogue Banks.
Mrs. Hoffman purchased a farm on Bogue Banks from John A. Royall and additional land from the Johnson Estate in 1917. The farm at Bogue Banks was first intended as a productive venture for the war effort. Mrs. Hoffman purchased Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle, and correspondence during this early period discusses cattle purchases, registering cattle, farm instructions and management suggestions for her first superintendent Sam DuPlanty, insurance affairs, tuberculin testing, and the dipping and shipping of ten head of cattle to France (1921-1923). In 1923, Mrs. Hoffman purchased a farm from Sam DuPlanty across from Bogue Banks as a dairy farm to supply the Morehead City area.
The most interesting portion of the Bogue Banks correspondence discusses Mrs. Hoffman's relationship with Salter Path, a squatter's village on Bogue Banks.Correspondence (1919-1925) reflects Mrs. Hoffman's efforts to gain possession of the village, to stop trespassing on her land, and to share the fishing rights. Mrs. Hoffman was forced to bring suit against Royall in 1922 for possession and trespassing. The court issued an edict in 1923 to stop the trespassing, but it proved to be futile. She was able to clear her title to Bogue Banks, and the Superior Court in Carteret County ruled in 1925 that Mrs. Hoffman was entitled to possession and issued an injunction against trespassing. Correspondence after 1925 discusses enforcing the edict, sharing the fishing profits, and feelings of sympathy for Salter Path residents as downtrodden in the public view.
Other letters (1925-1929) contain a commentary on the success of Mrs. Hoffman's interest in Bogue Banks. Her property was felt to be greatly increased in value and to have great possibilities; beach property was booming "like Florida;" and her dairy operation was prospering. Letters to Mrs. Hoffman suggest she should develop Bogue Banks as a playground and residential area (1926).
Mrs. Hoffman lost her first superintendent, Sam DuPlanty, in 1926, and by 1929 the Bogue Banks correspondence reflects a more depressing tone. Letters comment on appalling money conditions in the South and the rest of the United States, strikes in southern cotton mills, the high rate of interest on call money, and poor management of her farm and dairy. An extensive commentary is given on the failure of her dairy (1930), the burden of North Carolina taxes, efforts to make Bogue Banks pay if it could be financed, and prospects of selling beach property for development. In 1931, Mrs. Hoffman expressed optimism that conditions would improve with the building of a hotel in the area and plans for a railway terminal and a deeper channel to attract shipping. Hoffman extended her activities in 1933 with a fishing and fertilizer business.
Another major portion of the North Carolina correspondence (1937-1945) pertains to the controversy over the title and trust of Bogue Banks. The title question centered around a court case (1939) defended by ex-Governor Ehringhaus. After the court case, Bogue Banks was sold to the heirs of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. with Ohio Legislator John Matthias as trustee. Correspondence (1940-1945) involves the efforts of Mrs. Hoffman to restore her claims by a quit-claim deed from the Roosevelt children or from Matthias, disputed plans for a corporation with Matthias, and the reluctance of the Roosevelt family to interfere and offend Matthias. Mrs. Hoffman began suit against Matthias in 1942 after plans for a Bogue Banks corporation failed.
North Carolina correspondence during the later years also involves a dispute over a state highway on Bogue Banks (1940-1941). Mrs. Hoffman complained that the new highway would destroy her private road, and she enlisted the help of Senator Josiah W. Bailey and Representative Graham A. Barden to conserve the forest and her personal property. During World War II, Mrs. Hoffman's correspondence contains comments on soldiers and Coast Guard artillery on Bogue Banks, the inflation of wages due to government hiring, and rationing problems. Senator Josiah Bailey also commented on strikes delaying government defense production and suggested that Congressional action might be necessary (1941).
Another large portion of the correspondence (1919-1936) concerns Mrs. Hoffman's real estate ventures and social activities in New York. Mrs. Hoffman's correspondence insists she began her real estate efforts in New York for investment purposes. She purchased apartment buildings and residences in New York City and real estate on Manhattan. Letters involve alterations for her apartments, renting problems, mortgages, appraisals, tax problems, efforts to sell or foreclose, suits for rent recovery and other legal matters, incorporation to relieve debts, and fears of bankruptcy. Mrs. Hoffman had disposed of all of her New York real estate by 1936. The New York correspondence also gives interesting comments on the financial state of the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. Letters (1925-1931) comment on prohibitive prices, the 1929 stock market crash, stock margin calls and sells, and the slow market recovery. Mrs. Hoffman commented that the economic problems were due to buying on the installment plan, labor unions in America, and the end of the gold standard for the dollar. She also contended that President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not be allowed to finish his term (1933).
Other New York correspondence (1921-1932) involves Mrs. Hoffman's affiliation with the Republican Committee of 100 and later with the League for Political Education. Letters comment on the Republican ticket (1924), contributions to build the Town Hall (1924-1928), and League lectures. New York affairs (1920-1946) also discuss Mrs. Hoffman's storage problems with several storage companies handling the furnishings from her New York residences. Letters comment on indebtedness to these companies, threats to sell, and legal matters.
A smaller, but significant, portion of the collection deals with Mrs. Hoffman's affairs in France. The French correspondence (1919-1940) centers around a controversy between Mrs. Hoffman and the French government concerning her property. She returned to France repeatedly to handle court cases involving her residences (1920-1940) and to stop seizure of part of her property to widen a boulevard (1926-1934). Mrs. Hoffman contended that she should be allowed to extend her lease because Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. used her home for the World War I effort. The property was also intended as an inheritance for the Roosevelt children and a memorial to Quentin Roosevelt. It would later revert to the French government. Mrs. Hoffman appealed to U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull through Senator Josiah Bailey for intervention in the French "injustice" (1936-1938). Letters also provide interesting comments on the cost of living (1921, 1934, 1935, 1936), social meetings with General John J. Pershing (1921, 1930), the German problem (1922), and gambling casino ventures (1922, 1930).
The collection also contains correspondence concerning the Roosevelt family. Letters (1919-1936) contain personal correspondence, family visits to Bogue Banks, political affairs of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (1928, 1932), visits and news of Puerto Rico (1928-1931) and the Philippine Islands (1932) while Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was governor of each, and the Roosevelt efforts during World War II (1942).
Other family correspondence concerns the estate settlements and the trust funds of Mrs. Hoffman's grandfather, Theron R. Butler, and her father, Albert W. Green (1913-1932); stock disputes under these estates, especially the Lake Shore Railway Company case (1913-1920); and cotton stocks held under these estates with Pacolet, Dallas, Spartan, Monarch, and Laurens mills (1922-1930).
Mrs. Hoffman visited China in 1924-1925 with the British Minister to China, Sir Ronald Macleay, and his wife. An interesting commentary is given on the revolution in China, the problems and dangers of travel in the country, the fears of looting soldiers, social life, the inexpensive cost of living, the freedom from governmental regulation, and the prospects of establishing in Peking.
The collection contains legal records involving apartment leases and releases, court action against tenants, powers of attorney, insurance policies (1920-1924), action involving the Bogue Banks title (1919-1941), an amended petition for possession of Bogue Banks for military purposes (1943), court action by Atlas Storage Company, Butler and Green estate settlements and disputes (1907-1922), and a copy of the last will and testament of Albert W. Green. The clipping file (1915-1932, undated) contains clippings relating to the Republican Party, the Roosevelt family, the stockmarket, real estate, women voters, Mrs. Hoffman's rent recovery, the Inland Waterway, and a Chinese newspaper.
Miscellaneous materials include receipts, notes, pamphlets, blueprints, diary pages, apartment inventory lists, unidentified short-story manuscripts, magazine clippings, printed material, and other miscellaneous items. Farm records consist of cattle records; health records; certificates of registry; and pamphlets on cattle sales, tuberculosis, and government agricultural regulations, and rules for naming Holstein-Friesian cattle.
A large portion of the collection consists of financial papers. These papers contain farm statements (1915-1927), statements of the U.S. Trust Company under the Butler and Green Estates, and tax forms (1919-1935). Numerous statements and receipts pertain to farm expenses for the cattle and dairy business; apartment expenses, alterations, decorating, and utilities in New York; storage cost for furnishings from Mrs. Hoffman's apartments and residences; personal items like clothing and household bills; legal fees for various suits and legal actions in North Carolina and New York; insurance payments; stock brokerage debts; and auction sales. Also included are schedules of payment, statements of indebtedness (1917, 1936-1937), Southern Cotton Mill financial statements, stock records (1929, 1930), and appraisals and inventories for Mrs. Hoffman's apartments (1919-1932).
The oversize document folder contains blueprints of Mrs. Hoffman's New York apartments and real estate and Bogue Banks land plats. Also included are newspaper clippings on Southern Mill stocks (1923), New York real estate (1928), Southern Coal Operators Wage Conference (1941), the sinking of the
Lusitania (New York
Tribune, 10 May 1915) and the Salter Path village on Bogue Banks, North Carolina (1926). Other oversize documents include financial statements of Mrs. Hoffman and the Butler Estate (1910-1919).