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Papers of Carl J. Hoffman

Identifier: WCJH

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Carl J. Hoffman consists of documents dated from 1915 to 2002, with the bulk falling from 1940 to 1968. Despite Hoffman's involvement in high-profile reclamation efforts such as the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, and Colorado-Big Thompson Project, the collection's focus is on small dams and lesser-known projects. The material is primarily technical in nature and relates mostly to Hoffman's service with the Bureau of Reclamation, providing insights into hydrological engineering techniques and approaches prevailing at the time. The collection also contains engineering data and cost estimates for a variety of reclamation projects throughout the West. Documents include engineering books, manuals, design data, reports, notes, memoranda, maps, drawings, project account ledgers, and project design summaries.


  • Creation: 1915-2002
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1968


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, the collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


During a 28-year career with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, civil engineer Carl J. Hoffman helped design some of the West's biggest dams and spillways, including the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. He was also noted for his expertise in small-dam design. Additionally, he worked on the Big Thompson diversion project in northern Colorado and authored numerous articles and sections of books on engineering topics.

Born in Michigan in 1908, Hoffman earned a degree in civil engineering in 1932 from Colorado Agricultural College, now Colorado State University. He married Edith Goldfarb in 1934. After working for the Bureau of Reclamation for nearly three decades, Hoffman served as an international engineering consultant with the World Bank and other firms before retiring in 1990. He died in Denver in 2004.


4.5 linear feet (2 record cartons, 2 flat boxes, 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



Carl J. Hoffman (1908-2004) was a CSU civil engineering graduate (1932) who spent nearly thirty years working for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation designing dams and spillways. His accomplishments include helping to design the Hoover Dam and the Grand Coulee Dam, as well as many smaller dams throughout the West. The collection includes engineering books, manuals, design data, reports, notes, memoranda, maps, and project design summaries, focusing especially on small dams.


The materials in the collection were roughly grouped by material type, which were made into series. Further rearrangement was minimal.

The collection consists of 2 series in 4 boxes and 1 oversize flat file:

Series 1: Project data, 1921-2002

Series 2: Books and reports, 1915-1985


The Papers of Carl J. Hoffman was donated by Bob Hoffman, son of Carl J. Hoffman, by way of the Department of Civil Engineering at CSU and was acquired by the CSU Water Resources Archive in June 2004.


Processing was completed in July 2006. Materials were reboxed. Documents were removed from metal binders and refoldered using acid-free supplies. Metal fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic clips. Annotated papers in books were sheathed between sheets of acid-free paper and left in place. Commonly available published materials without annotations were culled from the collection. The poster (2 x 2.5) was flattened and placed in flat storage. Loose documents were grouped in the "General Notes and Memos" folder; otherwise, little rearrangement took place. Books with mold were discarded upon arrival of the collection.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated paginationis preceded by an "e." Authored articles, books, and studies are listed inbibliographic form.

Guide to the Papers of Carl J. Hoffman
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Nicolai Kryloff
Copyright 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA