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Robert Lee Shoffner Photograph Collection

Identifier: HQBCA-010

Scope and Contents

People featured in Shoffner's photography at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center are as follows: George Latimer, Yusef, Gloria Jean Massey and Regina Williams.


  • circa 1972

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions regarding access to the physical materials in this collection are in place due to COVID precautions.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain all necessary permissions and determining the nature of any liabilities prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The following is an excerpt from Robert Shoffner's obituary, posted in the St. Paul Pionner Press on June 20, 2002:

Robert Lee Shoffner, Jr. was born October 2, 1918 in St. Louis, MO. He was the son of Robert Lee Shoffner, Sr. and Auzie R. Shoffner. Robert, known to his friends as 'Shoff' and 'Bob' grew up in Mpls. and graduated from South High School in 1936, where he was a star track athlete and excellent student, From 1936-1939 Shoff attended the University of Minnesota in the College of Education. Shoff worked at International Harvester from 1939 until 1942 when he was drafted in the Army.

On December 8, 1943 Shoff married his lifelong love, Jessie Mae Sonion. Shoff attained the rank of Master Sergeant and served in the European Theatre of war with Patton's Army. Shoff was part of the famed 'Red Ball Express' and he participated in the Normandy invasion. Upon the return from WWII, Shoff attended Dunwoody Industrial Institute and graduated in 1947. From 1947-1949 he worked as a senior draftsman at the Veterans Administation at Fort Snelling. In October 1949 he began working for the St. Paul Housing Authority where he worked for 41 years until April 1990.

He worked as an engineering assistant, civil engineer, photographer, draftsman and surveyor at the Housing Authority. In 1953 and 1955 respectively, Shoff received Jr. and Sr. Engineering Certificates from the University of Minnesota. He was actively involved in service to the community. He served as President of the Board of Directors of Hallie Q. Brown Community Center and was instrumental in the founding of the Martin Luther King Center in 1972. Shoff also served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Family Services of the greater St. Paul area. He was a member of Omega PSI Phi Fraternity, Inc. for over 60 years. He was also a longtime member of the Audubon and Human Societies.

Robert Lee Shoffner mother was Mrs. Auzie Dial, who resided on Clinton Ave in Minneapolis. He married Jessie Mae Sonion at the church of St. Peter Claver on December 8, 1943. Robert and Jessie had a daughter, Sonya Marie, in May of 1947 and a son, Robert Sonion Shoffner, in March of 1950.


108 Photographic Prints (107 Black and white prints and one (1) color print.) ; All prints are approx. 20 cm x 25 cm

.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains 107 photographic prints taken by Robert L. Shoffner, who worked for the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of City of St. Paul, MN. The subject of the majority of the prints is the building and construction of the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center/MLK Center at 270 N. Kent St. The remainder are images of staff members at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in the HQB Library.


Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. "Collection Overview: Robert L. Schoeffner Photograph Collection." Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives.

Physical Description

Photographic prints are all in good condition.

Robert L. Shoffner Photograph Collection
Created and described by Kayla T. Jackson, 2022.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
This collection was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives Repository

270 N. Kent Street
Saint Paul MN 55102 USA