Title and statement of responsibility area
Abram Hoffer fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Graphic material
- Electronic record
- Sound recording
- Moving images
Title statements of responsibility
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Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
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Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Hoffer, Abram, 1917-2009
Physical description area
ca. 97.000m of textual records
69 computer disks
ca. 925 photographs
6 film reels
2 audio compact discs
1 audio disc
22 audio reels
82 audio cassettes
Publisher's series area
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Abraham (Abram) Hoffer was born on a farm near Hoffer, Saskatchewan on November 11, 1917 to Israel and Clara (Schwartz) Hoffer. After graduating from the local high school in 1934, Hoffer attended the University of Saskatchewan, where he earned Bachelor and Master of Science in Agriculture degrees in 1938 and 1940 respectively. Hoffer was employed as a research cereal chemist for Purity Flour Mills in Winnipeg, Manitoba from 1940 to 1944. After completing his Doctor of Philosophy degree in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1944, Hoffer then pursued a degree in medicine. He studied first at the University of Saskatchewan (1945-1947) and then transferred to the University of Toronto, where he obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1949.
Hoffer completed an internship with City Hospital in Saskatoon and then relocated to Regina to join the Saskatchewan Department of Public Health in 1950 as Director of Psychiatric Research, a position he held until 1967. Hoffer and his colleagues, including his long time writing partner Dr. Humphry Osmond, undertook extensive research into schizophrenia. Hoffer and Osmond obtained a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to develop their adrenochrome hypothesis, the first widely examined biochemical theory related to schizophrenia. They went on to investigate the therapeutic application of mega-doses of vitamin B-3 and ascorbic acid to schizophrenics. The conclusions to these studies became the basis for their innovative method of orthomolecular psychiatry and medicine.
Hoffer returned to Saskatoon in 1955 and assumed additional duties as Assistant (1955-1958) and Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Research) at the College of Medicine of the University of Saskatchewan. Hoffer and Osmond went on to co-develop diagnostic tests and psychedelic therapy for the treatment of schizophrenia. They also continued to study the use of supplements to lower cholesterol levels, particularly niacin. In pursuing their research, Hoffer and Osmond were the first psychiatrists in North America to conduct double-blind controlled tests, and later published papers about the defects and flaws of this method.
Hoffer was instrumental in the formation of the American Schizophrenia Association (ASA) in 1964, and in 1968 founded the Saskatchewan Schizophrenia Foundation, which changed its name to the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation (CSF) in 1969 in order to reflect its national scope. Hoffer also developed and edited the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, which served as a publishing outlet for researchers, practitioners, and proponents of orthomolecular medicine.
A resistance to the orthomolecular approach pervaded the psychiatric establishment of the time, and Hoffer's publications were invariably controversial. Hoffer felt that his freedom to publish and discuss therapeutic trials using vitamins was being restricted by his two employers, the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Department of Health. In response, Hoffer resigned from his positions and launched a private practice in Saskatoon in 1967.
Hoffer continued to serve on the board of the ASA until 1971, when he and several colleagues launched the Huxley Institute for Biosocial Research and integrated the ASA as a division. Hoffer served as the new Institute's president until 1984, and would remain active in its operation and work until it ceased to exist in 1993.
In 1976, Hoffer relocated and established a psychiatric practice in Victoria, British Columbia, which he operated until December 31, 2005, treating thousands of patients using orthomolecular medicine and psychiatry. In 2006, Hoffer and his long-time office manager, Francis Fuller, also opened a non-medical consulting business called the Orthomolecular Vitamin Information Centre Inc., with Hoffer serving as president and Fuller serving as chief executive officer.
In 2003, the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation changed its name to the International Schizophrenia Foundation (ISF), with Hoffer again serving as the founding president. Hoffer also established the Senior Physicians Society of British Columbia in 1999 and served as president.
Along with his busy practice and his active involvement in many organizations, Hoffer published widely in medical journals and popular magazines. He authored, co-authored and contributed to nearly a dozen books about schizophrenia and orthomolecular medicine. Hoffer received many honours and awards for his work including the Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2007). Hoffer died in Victoria on May 27, 2009.
Hoffer married Rose Beatrice Miller on February 14, 1942. The Hoffers had three children: William, Leonard John, and Miriam.
Miriam Hoffer, daughter of Abram Hoffer, donated some of these records to the Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 2009: 2009-694 (March 22, 2009). These records were formally donated by Miriam Hoffer and Leonard John Hoffer, son of Abram Hoffer, via an agreement dated February 1, 2011.
David Bindle, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Saskatchewan Library, donated some of these records to the Saskatchewan Archives in two accessions in 2010 and 2013: 2010-221 (May 4, 2010) and 2013-285 (April 4, 2013).
Scope and content
This fonds consists of records created, accumulated and used by Dr. Abram Hoffer during his professional career in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The records document Hoffer's psychiatric practice, as well as his extensive research on schizophrenia, orthomolecular medicine, and other alternative therapies over a period of approximately fifty years. Personal records are included in the fonds.
The types of records included are correspondence, clinical and patient case files, appointment and personal diaries, subject files, reports, conference and meeting materials, manuscripts, clippings, publications, photographs, sound recordings, and moving images.
The fonds has been arranged into twenty-one series as follows: Personal/Family; Appointment Diaries; General Correspondence; Miscellaneous Correspondence; 'A' Correspondence With Physicians; American Schizophrenia Association/Foundation; Huxley Institute for Biosocial Research; Saskatchewan Schizophrenia Foundation/Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation/International Schizophrenia Foundation; Papers and Manuscripts of A. Hoffer; Subject Files; Psychiatric Research Unit, Saskatchewan Department of Public Health; Reprints, Papers, etc.; Conference, Meetings, Symposia; Clippings and Publications; Audio-Visual Materials; Bibliographic Reference Cards; Clinical Files; Hoffer-Osmond Correspondence; Laity Correspondence; Senior Physicians Society of British Columbia; and Various.
Records are in good physical condition.
Immediate source of acquisition
Abram Hoffer donated some of these records to the Saskatoon office, Saskatchewan Archives in nine accessions between 1976 and 2006: 833 (S) (July 2, 1976); S88-71 (September 15, 1988); S88-77 (October 3, 1988); S92-95 (November 9, 1992); S94-6 (February 10, 1994); S2003-12 (March 10, 2003); S2006-30 (March 21, 2006); S2006-47 (October 11, 2006); and S2006-58 (March 4, 2006).
Abram Hoffer donated some of these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 1975: 600 (R) (April 28, 1975).
Arrangement reflects both original order and archival intervention. Where existing file titles were eCHAR(10) vident, they were retained. Other titles have been supplied by the archivist. Series titles supplied by archivist.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Office: Regina - Henderson
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
These records are subject to access restrictions according to the terms and conditions of an agreement dated February 1, 2011, and to terms outlined in Saskatchewan's Health Information Protection Act. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Use, publication, and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of an agreement dated February 1, 2011 and the conditions of the Copyright Act. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.
To consult the records, visit or contact the Regina office.
- SAFA 161-1 (researcher version) and SAFA 161-2 (restricted version) consist of fonds and series descriptions, file descriptions of textual records and item descriptions of photographs, moving images and sound recordings. The old guide (GS 180) has been incorporated into the SAFA guides.
A document for staff, outlining procedures for accessing the patient files is available see link below.
Uploaded finding aid
Related material: Hoffman's Potion, a documentary film about the discovery of LSD and subsequent research performed in western Canada, includes an interview with Abram Hoffer and is available in the Saskatoon office (VT S-527).
Photographs of Abram Hoffer are available in the Star Phoenix fonds (S-SP-A23879, 1-5; S-SP-B4729) and in the Canadian Mental Health Association records (R-A25040 to R-A25104; R-B12254 to R-B12263).
No further accruals are expected.
Location for retrieval: Regina - Hillsdale; Regina - Henderson
Conservation practices in place at the time of processing were applied to the records in this fonds.
Textual records: R-E2994; old guide GS 180 (S-A207); S-A1040; S-A1095; S-A1101; S-A1102; S-A1103; S-Q415; F 410-1 to F410-21
Photographs: GM-PH-2593 to GM-PH-2604; GM-PH-2835 to GM-PH-2858; S-D74 to S-D81
Moving images: MI-2641 to MI-2645; MI-4430 to MI-4479
Sound recordings: SR-457 to SR-560
Standard number area
Place access points
Name access points
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Description record identifier
Rules or conventions
Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.
Level of detail
Language of description
Script of description
Content of the fonds