University of Arizona

Students, faculty, staff, and the public are now welcome to visit Special Collections without an appointment from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

Robert Benitez Robles Papers

Robert Benitez Robles Autograph Party

This collection is primarily comprised of Robert Robles’ letters, manuscripts, personal documents, photos, and documentation of his service to the Mexican American community. Documents and correspondence also relate to Robles’ work for the Republican party in Arizona.

Robert Benitez Robles was born in 1908 in Clifton, Arizona to Mariano Robles and Aurelia Benitez, both first-generation Mexican immigrants from Zacatecas. During much of his life, Robles was treated as a second class citizen due to his Mexican heritage, but, as he wrote in his autobiography, was “never discouraged” and he set attending college as a goal. After a short time working in a mine in Clifton, he enrolled at Arizona State Teachers College (later Northern Arizona University) in Flagstaff, Arizona. For a while, Robles taught, specializing in teaching bilingual students. In 1944, though he was over the draft age and a father and husband, Robles volunteered to join the war effort as a transport airman for the Navy until he sustained a back injury and was honorably discharged in 1945. After the war, Robles became an insurance agent for New York Life until his retirement in 1973.