The Augustus L. and Jennie D. Hoffman Foundation Scholarship Essay Program was established in 1954 to encourage the study of local history and to provide scholarships for students in Wayne County schools. To be eligible, students had to be seniors in a Wayne County high school.
Students were required to submit an original research paper, of a minimum of 2,000 words dealing with some aspect of Wayne County history or civic affairs. Students were encouraged to work with a teacher to insure that they met the standards and rules of the essay contest. All essays were due on April 30 of each year and were then evaluated by a panel of three judges.
During the 50 years the essay contest was offered there were over 600 Hoffman essays written on various aspects of Wayne County history or civic affairs. A complete set of these essays are available in the County Historian’s office and the Newark Public Library. Copies of essays written by their students were sent to each school and local library, along with copies of essays dealing with Wayne County in general and those pertinent to each town.
The Foundation suspended the essay contest in 2004. The last year for the contest was 2003. This was a difficult decision but necessary because of the lack of funds to continue awarding scholarships to the contest winners.
The submitted essays from 2003 are included in this listing, however, it should be noted that none of the 2003 essays were accepted by the judges. Each essay failed to meet some aspect of the stated essay contest rules. Also, from time to time over the years essays were submitted which were not accepted. These essays may not have contained the required number of words or some other technical aspect. These essays still contain significant information content and are available in the Office of the County Historian.
Many people ask why the essays are not available for download from our website. The rules of the Hoffman Essay Contest clearly state that all copyright laws apply. The copyrights for the essays are owned by the Hoffman Foundation. The Hoffman Foundation has authorized the Office of the County Historian to administer Academic and “Fair Use” provisions for personal use. Copies of Hoffman Essays may be obtained by writing to the Office of the County Historian. The requester will be required to submit a signed “use agreement” and to pay any applicable copy fees.