This semester I was fortunate enough to work on an exhibit covering the life and career of Raul H. Castro, the only Latino governor of Arizona. My supervisor, Maurita Baldock, instructed me to speak to Bob Diaz, the Exhibitions Coordinator. Bob provided immediate directions to create a timeline of Governor Castro’s life. He also encouraged me to speak to Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Borderlands Curator, for additional input should he not be available.
Both Bob and Verónica informed me of the spreadsheet method of keeping track of the objects. I embraced the power of the spreadsheet which allowed me to document the location, the document type and a brief description of the representative item.My instructions were to make sure to cover his life supplemented with documents and objects in the collection. This was somewhat daunting as Mr. Castro had had a long illustrious career not only as governor, but served as ambassador to Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina respectively and previously he worked for the University of Arizona as a Spanish professor, the State Department when he was unable to use his newly acquired teaching degree, served as a Pima County Attorney and Superior Court Judge and was a long-time partner in the Castro and Zipf Law Firm.
Letter from Castro thanking then University President Harvill for the opportunity to work as a Spanish professor.
(UA Biographical Files: Castro, Raul H.)
While attending Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University), Castro was known as “The Douglas Destroyer” because of his athletic prowess (a photo of Castro as a boxer is featured online). Another challenge I faced was not approaching an exhibit “cold” since there is also an online exhibit documenting Governor Castro’s life. I wanted to ensure the physical exhibit did not necessarily mimic the online exhibit.
Commemorative Key to the City, Ciudad de Cordoba, Argentina
(MS 417, Box 22, Folder 3)
My first step was to research Raul H. Castro. I utilized the finding aid for his collection, MS 417, as my primary source and highlighted items of note as well as double-checking the materials against what was featured in the online exhibit. Once I had decided what materials seemed relevant, I began to curate the exhibit since I would be able to visually and physically assess the sizes and types of materials. I soon discovered some items were far too large for the exhibit case even though they were interesting pieces such as the sign for Castro and Zipf Law Firm.
Castro practiced law between his many political appointments.
(MS 417, Box 30)
Thanks to teamwork, I was able to build my exhibit in the time frame afforded to me moreover I learned quite a bit about Arizona’s only Hispanic governor, Mr. Raul H. Castro. He is inspirational having made a successful life’s journey from humble beginnings.
Castro Home in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico (MS 417, Box 16, Folder 31)
Second page of Castro’s response to a student’s question: What has it taken for you to be the success that you are today?
(MS 417, Box 1, Folder 10)
The exhibit is currently in the Congressional Archives Room on display with many of our other political materials.
English and Spanish newspaper articles announcing Castro’s gubernatorial win.