From the Hoover Digest, here's a 2003 profile of Eric Hoffer. An excerpt:
Around 1920 Hoffer left for Los Angeles with $300 provided by his late father’s guild of craftsmen. For the next 20 years, Hoffer was either in Los Angeles or on the move in the San Joaquin Valley as a migratory worker. Accumulating library cards along the way (none has survived), he acquired a lifelong reading habit. The only documentary evidence that has survived from that period is his Social Security application, dated June 1937. It attests that Hoffer was then living on Eye Street, Sacramento, and was employed by the U.S. Forest Service in Placerville. His age was given as 38, and his birth date, July 25, 1898. Later in life, even after Hoffer became well known through his appearances on television, no one seems to have come forward claiming to have known him in the earlier part of his life.