Lyla Hoffine was born on February 11, 1897, in Highland, Wisconsin; she was the daughter of Frank and Isabelle (Smith) Hoffine. She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1923 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor's Diploma in Teaching. After graduation, she acted as the principal in the Berwick, North Dakota school system, and also taught at both the Minot Senior High School and Minot Teacher's College in Minot, North Dakota. She returned to UND and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in 1941. Her thesis was entitled Cattle Country: a Story of the Development of Western North Dakota. She then taught at the University of Minnesota until 1942, when she joined the faculty of Minot State College. She was the Director of Verbal Communication from 1952 until her retirement in June 1967. She was also a member of the National Education Association, Author's Guild of America and Women's National Book Association. On the local level, she was active in the Yellowstone-Missouri Confluence, Fort Union Commission.
Lyla Hoffine was the author of several books, included in the Department’s North Dakota Book Collection. Wi Sapa, published in 1936, was her first book. This was followed by White Buffalo in 1939 and Running Elk in 1958. Jennie's Mandan Bowl was released in 1960 and The Eagle Feather Prize was published in 1962. She also wrote Carol Blue Wing in 1967. Sioux Trail Adventure, a reprint of Wi Sapa was published in 1956. A translation of Jennie's Mandan Bowl into German appeared in 1960. She also wrote numerous book reviews in national magazines for elementary school teachers.
In 1973, Hoffine received UND’s prestigious Sioux Award in May 1973. During that same year, she was named North Dakota's Outstanding Woman in Education.
Lyla Hoffine died on September 30, 1984, in Tucson, Arizona.
The following books, all written by Lyla Hoffine, are available in the Department of Special Collections:
Carol Blue Wing, what is your pleasure? New York, D. McKay Co., 1967. Cattle country, a story of the development of western North Dakota. M.A. Thesis, University of North Dakota, 1941.
The eagle feather prize. New York : David McKay, 1962.
Jennie's Mandan bowl. New York: Longmans, Green , 1960.
Running Elk. Indianapolis : Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1957.
Sioux trail adventure (Wi Sapa: Black Moon). Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1957.
White buffalo : a story of the Northwest fur trade. New York : Longmans, Green and Co, 1939.
Wi Sapa: Black Moon; the story of a Sioux Indian boy. New York: American Book Co., 1936.