Valley College Professor Writes History

Dr. Abraham Hoffman is an all-around Historian through his contributions on-and-off campus.

By Cesar Martinez, Staff Writer

Valley professor, Abraham Hoffman, balances his teaching, research, and writing with the release of his latest book: “California’s Deadliest Earthquakes, A History.”

Regarding the three major earthquakes in California, the professor’s book connects the 1994 Northridge earthquake, 1933 Long Beach earthquake and 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In addition, his book includes valuable tips towards surviving a major tremor through personal accounts, interviews and photographs.

“Flashlights are good but lanterns are better,” Hoffman stated during the interview in his office, “two and a half gallons of water, canned food and a can opener.. intuitive things like that save you from dying.”

Dr. Hoffman has been an adjunct instructor at Valley College since 1974, teaching history during the evening courses. He is an instructor for History of the Americas 1 as well as History of California and Pacific Coast this semester. Hoffman commented about his history with Valley and the way he works has changed overtime.

“One of the joys is the technology. If someone told me about this five years ago, I’d say it was science fiction.”

Since his start at Valley, he has written a selection of books including Unwanted Mexican Americans in the Great Depression: Repatriation Pressures, 1929-1939 (1974), Vision or Villainy: Origins of the Owens Valley-Los Angeles Water Controversy (1981), An Oklahoma Tragedy:  The Shooting of the Mexican Students, 1931 (1987),  California Then and Now (1996), and Mono Lake: From Dead Sea to Environmental Treasure (2014).  His body of work collectively contains around 70 articles and 200 book reviews.

He is also a member of the Los Angeles City Historical Society, the Western Writers of America, Organization of American Historians and the Western History Association to name a few.

Hoffman finds the time to enjoy his other memberships as well. A month since it’s founding in 1963–on a night of cruising down the sunset strip– Hoffman and some buddies decided to walk into the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Hoffman has since been a charter associate lifelong member.

Professor Hoffman plans to continue his writing and to branch out into new genres like nonfiction, mystery and historical fiction.

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