Robert Coombs Interview Segment 1

Family background: parents met and married in Los Angeles, California (ddr-densho-1000-146-1) - 00:05:36
Growing up in Sacramento, California, losing father at an early age (ddr-densho-1000-146-2) - 00:07:13
Fond memories of grade school: "your teachers were your friends" (ddr-densho-1000-146-3) - 00:04:07
Growing up with exposure to a few different ethnic groups in school (ddr-densho-1000-146-4) - 00:05:11
Attending junior high and high school in "bungalow schools" (ddr-densho-1000-146-5) - 00:05:29
Emerging interest in drama classes and stage acting in school (ddr-densho-1000-146-6) - 00:04:39
Learning to be self-sufficient while attending the University of Southern California (ddr-densho-1000-146-7) - 00:04:24
Participating in the development of the new progressive education theory at Stanford University (ddr-densho-1000-146-8) - 00:04:36
Unable to serve in the military when drafted due to medical problems; suspecting that the U.S. would eventually become involved in World War II (ddr-densho-1000-146-9) - 00:05:44
Memories of December 7, 1941: "it was a shock" (ddr-densho-1000-146-10) - 00:04:05
Teaching high school after the outbreak of war, feeling sadness when Japanese American students were taken out of school (ddr-densho-1000-146-11) - 00:05:12
Being accepted to teach at the Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho: "I was thrilled" (ddr-densho-1000-146-12) - 00:04:27
Encountering mixed reactions when telling others of decision to teach at Minidoka concentration camp (ddr-densho-1000-146-13) - 00:03:58
Traveling to the Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho, choosing to live within the camp itself (ddr-densho-1000-146-14) - 00:03:28
First impressions of Minidoka; meeting Jerome Light (ddr-densho-1000-146-15) - 00:06:30
Participating in a new style of education, teaching core classes at Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho (ddr-densho-1000-146-16) - 00:06:25
Description of the incarcerated children working out on neighboring sugar beet farms; physical description of school conditions (ddr-densho-1000-146-17) - 00:05:44
(ddr-densho-1000-146-18) - 00:04:15
Description of a typical day of teaching in Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho (ddr-densho-1000-146-19) - 00:04:20
Mother comes to visit in Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho (ddr-densho-1000-146-20) - 00:03:22
Thoughts on the so-called "loyalty questionnaire" (ddr-densho-1000-146-21) - 00:04:00
Encouraging Japanese American students to believe in a positive future (ddr-densho-1000-146-22) - 00:06:31
Unique challenge of teaching Japanese American students about democracy while in a concentration camp: democracy in the U.S. is "imperfect" (ddr-densho-1000-146-23) - 00:05:57
Encountering prejudice while in Twin Falls, Idaho, buying goods for the Japanese Americans in Minidoka (ddr-densho-1000-146-24) - 00:07:28
As Minidoka concentration camp closed, leaving for a teaching job in California (ddr-densho-1000-146-25) - 00:04:35
Thoughts on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: "that bomb is still a horrible thing" (ddr-densho-1000-146-26) - 00:02:25
Getting married on Christmas Day, having three children (ddr-densho-1000-146-27) - 00:01:52
(ddr-densho-1000-146-28) - 00:02:22
Observing a youth services program in California, postwar (ddr-densho-1000-146-29) - 00:04:34
Reaction to hearing about the redress and reparations received by Japanese Americans: "it's about time" (ddr-densho-1000-146-30) - 00:01:57
(ddr-densho-1000-146-31) - 00:03:00
Thoughts on September 11, 2001 (ddr-densho-1000-146-32) - 00:03:07
Sharing wartime experiences with children (ddr-densho-1000-146-33) - 00:05:51
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ddr-densho-1000-146-1 (Legacy UID: denshovh-crobert-01-0001)

Family background: parents met and married in Los Angeles, California

00:05:36 — Segment 1 of 33

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August 2, 2003

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Robert Coombs

Robert Coombs Interview

02:32:24 — 33 segments

August 2, 2003

SeaTac, Washington

Caucasian male. Born May 26, 1918, in Visalia, California. Attended school in Sacramento, California, and then enrolled in the University of Southern California. Involved in the development of the new progressive education theory at Stanford University in the 1930s, and was teaching high school in Sacramento, California when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Worked as a teacher at the Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho. Mr. Coombs passed away in May 2009.

Alice Ito, interviewer; Dana Hoshide, videographer


Courtesy of Densho