James Riddle Hoffa (February 14, 1913 – disappeared July 30, 1975) was an American labor union leader and author who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1958 until 1971. He vanished in late July 1975, at age 62.
Born James Riddle Hoffa
February 14, 1913
Brazil, Indiana, U.S.
Disappeared July 30, 1975 (aged 62)
Bloomfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan, U.S.
Status Declared dead in absentia
July 30, 1982
Occupation Labor union leader, author
Spouse(s) Josephine Hoffa, nee Poszywak (1936–1980) [Her Death]
Children James P. Hoffa
Barbara Ann Crancer
Hoffa was a union activist from a young age and an important regional figure with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union by his mid-20s. By 1952 Hoffa had risen to national vice-president of the IBT, and served as the union’s general president between 1958 and 1971. He secured the first national agreement for teamsters’ rates in 1964. Hoffa played a major role in the growth and development of the union, which eventually became the largest (by membership) in the United States with over 1.5 million members at its peak, during his terms as its leader.
Hoffa became involved with organized crime from the early years of his Teamsters work, and this connection continued until his disappearance in 1975. He was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud in 1964, in two separate trials. He was imprisoned in 1967 and sentenced to 13 years, after exhausting the appeal process. In mid-1971, he resigned as president of the union, an action that was part of a pardon agreement with President Richard Nixon, to facilitate his release later that year. Nixon blocked Hoffa from union activities until 1980 (which would have been the end of his prison term, had he served the full sentence). Hoffa, hoping to regain support and to return to IBT leadership, unsuccessfully attempted to overturn this order.
Hoffa vanished in late July 1975, having last been seen outside the Machus Red Fox, a suburban Detroit restaurant, and was declared legally dead in 1982. His disappearance gave rise to many theories as to what happened to him.
A collection of papers related to Hoffa is cared for by the Special Collections Research Center of George Washington University. The collection contains a variety of materials, including newspaper and magazine articles, trial transcripts, copies of congressional hearings, and publicity materials.