Carl Julius Hoffman, M.D. - Horseback Doctor

ArchivesHoffman entered the University of Oregon Medical School (pre-curser to OHSU) in 1902; he was a dedicated young student who served as class president and graduated with the highest standing in his class in 1907. After an internship, he accepted an offer to take over the practice of a Dr. Longaker in Woodland, Washington. Within a week, he set up practice in the town with seven saloons and one church. Included in the deal he struck were a buggy and a team of horses named Trix and Pet.

Dr. Hoffmann bought a saddle horse to use when the roads became impassable. He had an office in the Bryant Building, where he practiced for 62 years. He lived next door to his upstairs office, carrying water and cutting his own for wood for heating and cooking. Earle Bryant, who became a fast friend, had a pharmacy on the first floor. In the absence of a nurse, Earle would serve as anesthetist. Many of the injuries sustained in the mills and logging camps required immediate onsite surgery. Bryant remembered that there were some very tense moments in those days.

Hoffman's fellow classmate and colleague, Dr. J. B. Blair of Vancouver, WA, wrote about Dr. Hoffman, "He has seen all of life's panorama, from the cry of infancy to the parting sigh of old age. He has had no hour he could call his own. No room in his home has been exempt from the imperative call. The darker the night the more howling the storm, the more likely was he to be needed and aroused from slumber to go to the bed of suffering. He has borne all temperatures, sweating in August suns, freezing in December blasts. Drowned with the rains and choked by dust he has trudged here and there, hungry at noon, sleepy at midnight, while others, oblivious to care, were resting or being refreshed by food or sleep.

To accumulate worldly goods is not and has never been Dr. Hoffman's objective. No other person in the community has or could have sacrificed so much to charity as he. He has done all the good he could to all the people he could in all the ways he could, with little regard for remuneration, or ever keeping foremost in his mind that which is just, that which is honest, that which is true. These precepts have governed his life."

The OHSU Historical Collections & Archives holds a scrapbook created by the people of Woodland that documents the contributions to the community made by Dr. Hoffman.


Contributed by Karen Peterson, archivist, OHSU Historical Collections & Archives