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  • Francis Hoffman Collection

Francis Arnold Hoffmann was born in Hereford, Westphalia, Prussia, and came to the United States to escape conscription. Hoffmann settled in Chicago in 1839 where he studied for the ministry and was put in charge of the Lutherans in northeastern Illinois serving as pastor in Dunklee's Grove until 1847. In 1847 Hoffmann was named pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumberg.

Four years later, he quit the ministry and moved into Chicago where he studied law and engaged in real estate and the insurance business. He was named to the Chicago City Council in 1852, serving through 1860. Hoffmann established a bank in 1854 which failed during the Civil War. Hoffmann was appointed consul for several German states and he was the first editor of the German newspaper, Illinois Staats Zeitung.

He was one of the organizers of the Republican Party in Illinois and in 1860 was elected Lieutenant Governor of the state. Hoffmann established the International Bank at Chicago in 1866 and was active in restoring banks and businesses after the Chicago fire in 1871. When he retired in 1875 he became editor of a German farm paper in Milwaukee called Der Haus und Bauernfreund; Die Deutsche Warte of Chicago and the Deutsches Wolksblatt of Buffalo.

The finding aid for the Francis Arnold Hoffmann Papers, 1840-1900 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum may be found at:

Images in this collection include family photographs of Francis Hoffmann and his family including his wife, Cynthia, and sons Francis, Julius Carl, and Adolf Gustavus.

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