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COLLECTION Identifier: 83-M162--84-M65

Papers of Anna Rosenberg Hoffman, 1870-1983


Correspondence, clippings, audiovisual materials, etc., of Anna Rosenberg Hoffman, government official and expert on labor mediation and welfare services.


  • Creation: 1870-1983


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Anna Rosenberg Hoffman is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


6.54 linear feet ((2 cartons, 2 file boxes, 1 folio box, 2 folio+ boxes) plus 3 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder, 13 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 2 folio+ photograph folders, 4 volumes, 4 videotapes, 5 motion picture films, 2 audiotapes)

The papers of Anna Rosenberg Hoffman consist of correspondence, awards, clippings, photographs, and audiovisual materials. Her public career is documented in particular by extensive photographs and clippings, especially during the years 1950-1953, when she was Assistant Secretary of Defense. The remainder of the papers includes a personal correspondence file, which was organized by Hoffman by correspondent or subject (Democratic Party affairs or the various commissions or boards on which Hoffman served). Motion pictures or photographs that relate to a given subject have been incorporated in the subject file by the processor. Correspondence with individuals is generally on a variety of subjects and often spans many years. There are no official papers from her government posts or from her work as a private consultant; these papers have presumably remained with her consulting firm and with the respective agencies.

There are also correspondence, clippings, and photographs concerning other members of the Lederer family, especially Hoffman's mother, Charlotte Lederer, a writer and illustrator of children's books (see #7).

The contents of #71v-81vo and the photographs in 82v, 84v, and 85vo are available on microfilm. Most clippings were discarded after filming.


Anna Maria (Lederer) Rosenberg Hoffman was born on July 19, 1902, in Budapest, Hungary, to Albert and Charlotte (Bacskai) Lederer. In 1912, the Lederers emigrated and settled in New York City, where Hoffman attended public schools. Selling World War I Liberty Bonds was her initiation into public affairs. Later, the publicity she received from defusing a student strike brought her to the attention of Jim Hagan, a Tammany district leader, for whom she managed several election campaigns in the 1920s.

Hoffman's success, according to one journalist, lay in her talents as an "investigator, trouble-shooter, and peacemaker." In 1924 she founded a consulting firm and soon built up a reputation as an expert on labor mediation and welfare services. She became a trusted adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and New York Governor Herbert Lehman.

A staunch Democrat, Hoffman served in the New Deal as a regional director for the National Recovery Administration (1935) and the Social Security Board (1936-1943), while also sitting on various city and state boards for business, transportation, recreation, and industrial relations. During World War II, she served with the Retraining and Reemployment Administration (1941-1945), the War Manpower Commission (1942-1945), and the Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services (1941-1942), and was a special presidential adviser on the problems of returning soldiers.

In the postwar period, she served on or consulted for the National Security Resources Board, the Bureau of Employment Security, and the War Mobilization and Reconversion Advisory Board. In 1950-1953, she served under George Marshall as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Personnel, the highest post ever held by a woman in the defense establishment. During this period she also chaired the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

In 1953, Hoffman returned full time to her consulting work at Anna Rosenberg Associates. She reentered public affairs in the 1960s, serving on the New York City Board of Education, the Temporary Commission on New York City Finances, the National Commission on Automation, Technology, and Economic Progress, and the National Advisory Commission on the Social Security System.

Hoffman had married Julius Rosenberg, a rug merchant, in 1919; they had one child, Thomas J. Rosenberg, born 1924, and were later divorced. In 1963, Hoffman married Paul Gray Hoffman (1891-1974), a business executive who had headed the Marshall Plan and the United Nations Development Fund. Hoffman's son became a partner in her consulting firm. Hoffman died of pneumonia in New York City on May 9, 1983.

For further biographical information, see the early editions of Who's Who Among American Women, the Schlesinger Library's biography file, and interviews in the Eleanor Roosevelt Oral History Project at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, the Herbert H. Lehman Project at Columbia University, and at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Austin, Texas.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 83-M162, 83-M172, 84-M65

The papers of Anna Rosenberg Hoffman were given to the Schlesinger Library by her son, Thomas J. Rosenberg, in July and August 1983, and in April 1984.


File units 71v-73f+, 75, 77v-81vo (M-142) and 74vo, 76v, 82v, 84v, 85vo (M-140) were microfilmed at the request of a researcher. The volumes were disassembled and most clippings discarded after filming. Other items were retained; see #100o-111f.

All dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.

The pages of some scrapbooks were numbered to aid the microfilmer, the proofreader, and researchers. Blank pages were not numbered.

Some material in the scrapbooks was difficult to film, due to such problems as faint pencil notations, discoloring caused by glue, creased and brittle newsprint, multiple-paged, folded, and overlapping items, and magazines and newsletters printed in color.

It was impossible to film the last page of some multiple paged items because they were glued to scrapbook pages.

Due to brittle scrapbook pages and newsprint, some clippings are incomplete.

In very many cases the processor had to remove clippings from scrapbook pages and unfold and mount them in order to film the complete clipping.

Not all editorials and columns syndicated in multiple newspapers were microfilmed.

Some items were not microfilmed in their entirety, but only the page(s) by or about Anna Rosenberg Hoffman, and the title page where necessary to establish name and date of publication.

The film was proofread by the Schlesinger Library and corrections made where necessary.

Copies of M-140 and M-142 may be borrowed on interlibrary loan from the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, Ma 02138.

  1. 74vo, 76v, 82v, 84v, 85vo: M-140 (one reel)
  2. 71v-73f+, 75, 77v-79vo: M-142, reel 1
  3. 80vo-81vo: M-142, reel 2


  1. Carton 1: 3-7, 15, 18v-19v, 21-26, 44-56
  2. Box 2: 57-66
  3. Carton 3: 67m, 83v, 86v, 88v, 91v-94v, 97v-99
  4. Box 4: 103, 105, 108-109
  5. Folio+ Box 5: 95vo
  6. Folio+ Box 6: 68mo
  7. Folio Box 7: 82v, 84v

Processing Information

Preliminary work on the collection was done by David Nathan in 1983.

Preliminary inventory: January 1986

By: Anne Engelhart

Selected portions were prepared for microfilming by Bert Hartry in 1995. The filming was partially paid for by the Friends of the Schlesinger Library.

Hoffman, Anna Rosenberg, 1902-1983. Papers of Anna Rosenberg Hoffman, 1870-1983: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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