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Guide to the Jane Hoffer Photographs
1975-2012
 PR 312

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Sophie Glidden-Lyon and Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 18, 2019
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Hoffer, Jane
Title: Jane Hoffer photographs
Dates [inclusive]: 1975-2012
Abstract: Photographs, contact sheets, DVDs, and photobooks by Jane Hoffer, documenting female members of the New York Police Department (1975–1979), the Boys' Choir of Harlem (1980–1985), and celebrities from the fields of activism, the arts, business, education, journalism, and politics (circa 1983–2010).
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet in 1 box.
Call Phrase: PR 312

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Biographical note

Canada native Jane Hoffer is a New York City-based photographer with more than forty years of freelance experience. Hoffer attended McGill University where she started in painting and ended her graduate career with a dissertation on photographic essays. She received further training at the School of Visual Arts, the New School, the International Center of Photography, and Columbia University, from which she holds an advanced degree in art. Hoffer's primary professional work has been for non-profit organizations, including the Boys' Choir of Harlem and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to her commercial work, Hoffer has pursued many artistic projects that have been exhibited throughout the city in both group and solo shows. She is currently a member of Professional Women Photographers, the West Side Artists Coalition, and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. For further information visit the photographer's website: www.janehoffer.com.

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Scope and Contents

The photographs in this collection stem from three distinct documentation projects by Jane Hoffer: "On the Beat 1975–1979"; "Boys' Choir of Harlem 1980–1985"; and "Celebrity, circa 1983–2010."

"On the Beat 1975–1979" documents some of the first women police officers out on patrol in New York City. President Lyndon Johnson's Crime Commission in 1967 recommended sweeping changes to law enforcement training and hiring practices and called for "new kinds of people" in police forces: college graduates, women, minorities, and skilled civilians. More and more women became patrol officers and moved into supervisory positions like station supervisor and detective. Further studies, like the Kerner Commission's 1968 "Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders," and psychologist and Ford Foundation director Catherine Miller's 1972 study, "Women in Policing," contributed to the changing attitude toward women stepping out from behind the desk to take on more active policing duties. Policewomen faced fierce resistance from people outside their departments, as well as resentment from their fellow officers.

Hoffer began the project in the 1970s. She was then teaching photography at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the photography collective to which she belonged, Women Photographers of New York, began a series of projects on working women. A colleague introduced her to Sergeant Joan Pearson, who then acquainted her with other female officers who were willing to be interviewed and photographed. Fascinated by the emerging roles of women in police work, Hoffer photographed officers, sergeants, and auxiliaries in precinct houses, their patrol cars, and at the firing range. She also conducted extensive interviews of her subjects. The process continued for four years.

The photographs were exhibited at the SoHo Photo Gallery (1980), the Wall Gallery at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (1989), and the New York City Police Museum (2011), where the exhibit was called "On the Beat 1975–1979: Women in the NYPD." The work was also issued as a self-published photobook, On the Beat 1975–1979, which contains selections from the interviews as well as photographs.

An impromptu request to shoot a Boys' Choir of Harlem concert led to Hoffer's first professional job: photographing the choir at venues around New York City (Carnegie Hall, City College, Gracie Mansion, and Liberty Island), throughout the United States, and on a trip to Jamaica. Hoffer also accompanied the choir to its summer camp in Kent, Connecticut, where she captured the singers rehearsing, studying, fishing, and swimming. In 2011 Hoffer issued her images in a self-published photobook, The Boys' Choir of Harlem 1980–1985. The Boys' Choir of Harlem was founded in 1968 by Dr. Walter Turnbull (1944–2007). The group folded shortly after its final performance in 2007.

The photographs in Jane Hoffer's self-published Celebrity were taken between about 1983 and 2010 at New York City locations such as the Apollo Theater, Columbia University, the New York Academy of Science, Hunter College, Radio City Music Hall, and the City College of New York. Hoffer's subjects include activists, artists, authors, photographers, businessmen, philanthropists, scientists, educators, journalists, performers, actors, dancers, directors, musicians, political figures, and religious leaders, all of whom are identified in the container list, below (Series III, Box 1, Folder 29).

Arrangement

The collection is divided in three series:

Series I. "On the Beat," 1975-1979, 2011-2012
Series II. "Boys' Choir of Harlem," 1980-1985, 2011
Series III. "Celebrity," circa 1983-2010

Only Series I includes photographic prints.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Contact sheets.
  • DVDs.
  • Photobooks.
  • Photographs.

Subject Organizations

  • Boys' Choir of Harlem
  • New York (N.Y.). Police Department

Subject Topics

  • Boys' choirs
  • Celebrities
  • Policewomen -- New York (State) -- New York

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at printroom@nyhistory.org. Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Restricted material

The digital media is currently restricted from use in order to ensure that the files are not accidentally corrupted. N-YHS will be developing procedures to properly handle digital media and this content will be opened in the future after those procedures are established and implemented.

Use Restrictions

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to:

Department of Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194
rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org
212-485-9228

Permission to reproduce or quote text from this collection in a publication must be requested from and granted in writing by the Library Director, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194.

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: "Jane Hoffer Photographs, PR-312, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society."

Related Material at Other Institutions

The New York City Police Museum also holds a collection of Jane Hoffer's photographs of policewomen.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Jane Hoffer donated the material in Series I in 2012. In 2018 she supplied additional copies of the interview transcripts in Series I (Box 1, Folder 24), plus all of the material in Series II and Series III (accession no. PPAC.2018.018).

Processing Information

New York University Archives and Public History Intern Sophie Glidden-Lyon processed the initial accession of this collection--the portion now under Series I--in 2015. Joseph Ditta processed Series II and Series III, and revised Series I, in June 2019.

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Container List

Series I. "On the Beat", 1975-1979, 2011-2012

Scope and Contents

Series I contains photographs and other material relating to "On the Beat 1975-1979: Women in the NYPD," an exhibition of Hoffer's photographs of some of the first female NYPD officers on the job. The photographs are arranged in categories originally determined by the photographer. For descriptions of her subjects, see the container list below.

There are 131 gelatin silver photographs in Series I (105 are 5x7-inch prints; 25 are 11x14-inch prints), as well as 8 contact sheets with 160 images, some labeled "Women Partners," for which there are no prints in the present collection.

Series I also includes a DVD of images and interview texts, and the photographer's self-published photobook On the Beat 1975–1979, which reproduces photos and selections from the interviews, all of which were performed with the women represented in the collection. Note that some of the photographs present in the collection do not appear in the book; and, conversely, some of the images in the book are not represented in the collection.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1-2 Auxiliaries

Scope and Contents

Two mounted officers, Susan Cohen and Susan Cooke, pictured riding and caring for their horses.

circa 1977, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 3-4 Collins

Scope and Contents

Sergeant Barbara Collins, depicted in her precinct, in dress blues, processing suspects, and on patrol.

circa 1975, 1978, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 5-6 Decoys

Scope and Contents

Officers disguised as vulnerable citizens to act as plants to lure muggers. The photographs are mostly of Officer Rita Kaplowitz, a member of the street crime unit, and show her being disguised as an older woman, at the station, and speaking to senior citizens in costume.

circa 1976-1977, 1978, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 7-8 Hartmann

Scope and Contents

Officer Mary Hartmann shown assisting on EMT calls, turning out at roll call, and on patrol in dress blues.

[undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 9-10 Knedlehans

Scope and Contents

Officer Helen Knedlehans, an emergency service officer and instructor, depicted teaching first aid and using the jaws of life on a car.

1978-1979, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 11-12 Pearson

Scope and Contents

Sergeant Joan Pearson shown in the precinct house, on late night emergency calls, at the precinct cells, and out on patrol doing "community relations."

circa 1975, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 13-14 Stanton

Scope and Contents

Sergeant Marcia Stanton shown in the precinct house, answering disturbance calls, and doing her make up.

circa 1976, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 15-16 Shaughnessy

Scope and Contents

Officer Peggy O'Shaughnessy shown at the shooting range, on patrol, at the station, helping on an EMT call, and in front of a burned out building.

1976, 1978, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Doran

Scope and Contents

Officer Val Doran photographed in the locker room.

[undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 18-19 Walker

Scope and Contents

Officer Walker, whose first name and rank were unknown to the photographer, shown on patrol and answering disturbance calls.

1975, 1978, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 20-21 Wilson

Scope and Contents

Ann Wilson, a physical instructor at the Police Academy, shown teaching self defense to men and women, working with police recruits, and instructing physical training.

circa 1975, circa 1977, 1978, [undated]
Box: 1 Folder : 22 "On the Beat" contact sheets

Scope and Contents

8 sheets with 160 thumbnail images.

[1975-1979]
Box: 1 Folder : 23 "On the Beat" DVD

Scope and Contents

Digital images from the contact sheets, with interview texts.

Restricted material

The digital media is currently restricted from use in order to ensure that the files are not accidentally corrupted. N-YHS will be developing procedures to properly handle digital media and this content will be opened in the future after those procedures are established and implemented.

[1975-1979]
Box: 1 Folder : 24 "On the Beat" interview transcripts and exhibit card
[1975-1979], 2011
Box: 1 Folder : 25 On the Beat 1975-1979. Photographs by Jane Hoffer [photobook]
2012

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Series II. "Boys' Choir of Harlem", 1980-1985, 2011

Scope and Contents

In the foreword to her self-published photobook The Boys' Choir of Harlem 1980-1985, Hoffer notes that the Choir (founded 1968; folded 2007) was her first client. An impromptu shoot of a concert led to her photographing the singers at such New York City venues as Carnegie Hall, City College, Gracie Mansion, and Liberty Island, as well as on tour in the U.S. and on a trip to Jamaica. Series II contains contact sheets of Hoffer's photographs, a DVD holding digital versions of the same, and a copy of her book.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 26 "Boys' Choir of Harlem" contact sheets

Scope and Contents

5 sheets with 92 thumbnail images.

[1980-1985]
Box: 1 Folder : 27 "Boys' Choir of Harlem" DVD

Scope and Contents

Digital images from the contact sheets.

Restricted material

The digital media is currently restricted from use in order to ensure that the files are not accidentally corrupted. N-YHS will be developing procedures to properly handle digital media and this content will be opened in the future after those procedures are established and implemented.

[1980-1985]
Box: 1 Folder : 28 The Boys' Choir of Harlem 1980-1985. Photographs by Jane Hoffer [photobook]
2011

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Series III. "Celebrity", circa 1983-2010

Scope and Contents

Jane Hoffer photographed celebrities between about 1983 and 2010 at such New York City venues as the Apollo Theater, Columbia University, the New York Academy of Science, Hunter College, Radio City Music Hall, and the City College of New York. Series III contains contact sheets of Hoffer's "Celebrity" photographs, a DVD holding digital versions of the same, and a copy of her self-published photobook reproducing the images.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 29 "Celebrity" contact sheets

Scope and Contents

11 sheets with 213 thumbnail images of

Activists
Arthur Ashe, Marian Wright Edelman, Coretta Scott King, Andrei Sakharov, Elie Wiesel

Artists, Authors, Photographers
Meridith Lynn Auld (Mrs. Tom Brokaw), Art Buchwald, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Mario Vargas Llosa, Frank McCourt, Gordon Parks, Ann Patchett, Gary Trudeau, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Tom Wolfe

Businessmen, philanthropists, scientists
Anthony Fauci, Eugene Lang, Richard "Dick" Parsons, David Rockefeller

Educators
Geoffrey Canada, Maxine Greene, Michele Meyers (president, Sarah Lawrence College)

Journalists
Jane Alexander, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, Sam Donaldson, Amy Goodman, Jeff Greenfield, Bryant Gumbel, Carol Jenkins, Peter Jennings, Robert MacNeil, Jane Pauley, Dan Rather, Cokie Roberts, Tim Russert, Morley Safer, Joel Siegel, Liz Smith, Mike Wallace, Barbara Walters

Performers (actors, dancers, directors, musicians)
Tony Bennett, Boys' Choir of Harlem, Cab Calloway, Kitty Carlisle, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Spike Lee, Mitch Miller, Arthur Penn, Pearl Primus, Elisabeth Röhm, Ron Silver, Dawn Upshaw

Political figures
Hugh Carey, Bill Clinton, Mario Cuomo, David Dinkins, Geraldine Ferraro, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Green, Ed Koch, C. Everett Koop, Colin Powell, Charles Rangel, Chuck Schumer, Donna Shalala, Alan Simpson, Eliot Spitzer, Andrew Stein, Percy Sutton, Andrew Young

Religious leaders
Calvin O. Butts III, Edward Cardinal Egan

[circa 1983-2010]
Box: 1 Folder : 30 "Celebrity" DVD

Scope and Contents

Digital images from the contact sheets.

Restricted material

The digital media is currently restricted from use in order to ensure that the files are not accidentally corrupted. N-YHS will be developing procedures to properly handle digital media and this content will be opened in the future after those procedures are established and implemented.

[circa 1983-2010]
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Celebrity. Photos by Jane Hoffer [photobook]
[circa 2010]

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