James R. Hoffa Documentation collection
Scope and Contents
The collection contains newspaper clippings, magazine articles, trial transcripts, publicity materials, and copies of congressional hearings. This material covers a variety of background materials on James R. Hoffa, covering the time period from 1956, when Hoffa was Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, until his disappearance in 1975. it also includes documents for the James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship fund from 2008-2011.
- Creation: 1934-2011
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
James R. Hoffa (1913- ) was an American labor union leader and former President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Hoffa was born in Brazil, Indiana in 1913. He left school at the age of 14 in 1927 and began full-time manual labor to help support his family. Hoffa had begun his career with the Teamsters as a union organizer in Detroit in the early 1930s, where he became president of Local 299. He was first elected Vice President in 1952 and later served as the union's General President from 1958 to 1971. He secured the first national agreement for teamsters' rates in 1964, and played a major role in the growth and development of the union, which eventually became the largest single union in the United States.
Prior to Hoffa’s election, the Teamsters and his predecessor, Dave Beck, had become the focus of a congressional investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field, which was chaired by Senator McClellan from Arkansas. The chief counsel of the committee was Robert F. Kennedy. The investigations against the Teamsters and Hoffa continued throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Hoffa was repeatedly called to testify before the McClellan committee, which charged him with a wide range of improper and illegal activities, including use of union funds for personal purposes, corruption, and perjury. In 1964 Hoffa was convicted and began serving his sentences in federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1971, President Nixon issued a conditional pardon for Hoffa, releasing him from prison under the condition that he remained inactive in union management. Hoffa then worked on a variety of issues, in including a campaign for prison reform, but retained a relatively low profile, while working on a comeback at the local level. On July 30, 1975, he disappeared under mysterious circumstances at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in a Detroit suburb. He married Josephine Poszywak in 1936. The couple had two children: a daughter, Barbara Ann, and a son, James.
12 Linear Feet (11 document boxes, 3 over-sized flat box )
Language of Materials
The collection contains newspaper clippings, magazine articles, trial transcripts, publicity materials, copies of congressional hearings, photographs, videocassettes, vinyl records and audio tapes. This material covers a variety of background materials on James R. Hoffa, covering the time period from 1956, when Hoffa was Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, past his disappearance in 1975 to the election of his son, James Hoffa Jr., as General-President of the Teamsters.
Organized into 10 series: Media, Addresses and speeches, IBT press releases, IBT publicity materials, Transcript of Joint Council meeting, Congressional hearings and investigations, Trial documentation, Subject files, Re-printed and photocopied materials, and Unpublished materials.
Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The provenance of the collection is not entirely clear. The materials came to the LHRC in two boxes, which were labeled “JRH Personnel.” and most likely originated from different departments at the IBT headquarters, possibly from the library, the public relations and press office, the General President’s office, and the legal department.
Proceedings, Eastern Conference of Teamsters, 1954.
- Guide to James R. Hoffa Documentation collection, 1954-1976
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English