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Gene Knudsen Hoffman papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1305

Scope and Contents

Gene Knudsen Hoffman was a Quaker peace activist and organize primarily focused on reconciliation through compassionate listening. This collection consists of a wide range of written and visual material written or collected by Hoffman during her lifetime. The series include writings, correspondence, resources/research material (split into two series: topic-specific and general), and photographs/slides.

The first series, which covers the first six of the collection’s fifteen boxes, contains writing (poetry, articles, her master’s thesis) connected to Hoffman and her work. Her writing is in multiple formats and stages of publication–some are articles in newspapers and academic journals, some are reflective essays, and others are essays or poetry which Hoffman edited. There are also teaching materials on compassionate listening and other strands of peace work Hoffman undertook.

The second series, in boxes seven and eight, encompasses the correspondence, interspersed with pamphlets, newsletters, and memos. Much of the correspondence relates to Hoffman’s work in trying to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine and building connections between the United States and the USSR, including one folder of correspondence related to efforts to exhibit art of Estonian students in Santa Barbara as part of a cultural exchange between students.

The third series, in boxes nine through 13, includes resources (articles, newsletters, interviews) collected by Hoffman throughout her lifetime. Prominent topics include: peace, anti-nuclear efforts in the United States and Japan, compassionate listening, and conflict resolution in Israel, Libya, and Ireland. As an example, one folder (in box 10) relates to writing and research Hoffman did on Muriel Lester, another (in box 12) has poetry written by Tom Greening and David Krieger.

The fourth series in box 13 and 14 also includes resources collected by Hoffman, but on more general topics like psychology and spirituality.

The fifth and final series of this collection includes a small selection of photographs (in a folder in box 14) and a selection of slides.


  • Creation: 1964 - 2001


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Biographical note

Gene Knudsen Hoffman (1919-2010) was a Quaker peace and justice organizer, writer, and facilitator who lived in Santa Barbara, California. Throughout her long career as an organizer with the Fellowship for Reconciliation and other organizations she worked on issues related to the Vietnam War, Palestine and Israel, the aftermath of the United States bombing Libya, and anti-nuclear campaigns. Much of the last decade of her life was spent learning and deploying a strategy of ‘compassionate listening’ which focused on hearing the pain on both sides of the conflicts she sought to resolve. Prior to much of this work Hoffman was an actress, newspaper columnist, and raised her seven children.


6 linear ft. (15 boxes)

Language of Materials





The collection is arranged in five series by genre and topic.

Processing Information

Processed by Mary Crauderueff and Lily Sweeney, completed September 2022

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US