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Adam Díaz and Díaz Family Photograph Collection 1924-2004, Undated

MP SPC 328.3

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Díaz, Adam (Adam Perez), 1909-2010
Title: Adam Díaz and Díaz Family Photograph Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1924-2004, Undated
Quantity: 1 Folder (0.1 Linear Feet)
Abstract:This collection houses twenty-four images showing Adam Díaz and his family, including his parents and siblings, the home he grew up in, awards conferred upon him, and Díaz himself.
Identification: MP SPC 328.3
Language: Material in English
Repository: Arizona State University Library. Chicano Research Collection
Arizona State University Library
P.O. Box 871006
Tempe, AZ 85287-1006
Phone: (480) 965-4932
Questions? Ask An Archivist!

Biographical Note

Adam Perez Díaz was born to José Perez (ca. 1866-1927) and Soledad (Palacios) Díaz (1875-1962) in Flagstaff, Arizona on September 2, 1909. His parents, who had supported the armed insurrection against Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz, had fled Mexico the previous year. Adam Díaz was the second of five siblings, including Aurora (ca. 1906-), Salamon (1912-1912), Moises (1913-1928), Samuel (1915-1986), and Virgil Joseph (1919-2002).

The Díaz family settled in Phoenix in 1910. José Díaz helped operate Arizona Eastern Railway's roundhouse until the early 1920s when he got a job at the Luhrs Building and built the family a cement block home at 1230 E. Madison. Adam Díaz dropped out of school after completing the 8th grade and went to work as a messenger boy for Western Union (located in the Luhrs Building) to help support his family. In 1924, George Luhrs Jr. asked Díaz if he would like to work as an elevator operator. Díaz agreed and began work on April 1. His schedule was arranged so that he could attend the Gregg Shorthand School, located on the second floor of the Luhrs Building, where he studied typing and bookkeeping. He soon began assisting George Luhrs Jr., with whom he became fast friends. Luhrs came to consider Díaz his "right hand man" and recalled him having performed every job available in the Luhrs Properties, including Property Manager. The two friends took numerous fishing trips to the White Mountains and short vacations to California together and the Díaz children came to consider Luhrs their "second father." The friends also took up boxing during the Depression, building themselves a ring in the attic of the Luhrs Building for use after working hours. They rediscovered boxing in the late 1970s, meeting at the local YMCA at 9.30 every morning to exercise. Díaz was associated with the Luhrs Properties until they were sold on December 22, 1976.

Adam Díaz's involvement in his community and politics began early. Although he had dropped out of school, he insisted that his younger siblings continue their education. When he and his brothers realized that many schoolchildren in their neighborhood were not eating well during the day (some eating only a pickle for lunch), they convinced three companies to sell them hot dogs, buns, and mustard at discounted prices and opened a food stand across the street from the school. They sold hot dogs and soda for a nickel apiece, which was within the reach of many hungry children. Díaz later helped form the Lowell-Grant Neighborhood Council, which brought parents and teachers together to find ways to help children stay in school. Díaz met the first director of the Friendly House, Carrie Green, in 1925 and took over the Board in 1948. He worked toward improving the facility's crumbling building and was the recipient of the organization's first "Placida Smith" award.

While working at the Luhrs Building Díaz met Barry Goldwater, who encouraged his interest in politics. In 1948, Díaz joined Phoenix's Charter Government Committee (designed to rid the city government of corruption) at Goldwater's behest. The commission eventually recommended it's own slate of candidates, including Díaz. At the time, Phoenix was strictly segregated: Latinos could not live north of Van Buren Street and the city's schools were segregated. Díaz became the first Hispanic to serve on the City Council in 1953. He went on to become the first Hispanic to serve on the Phoenix Elementary School District's governing board in the 1950s, where he worked to get more well-educated Hispanics involved with educational administration. He later served on the Board of Directors for Chicanos por la Causa. His children also recall his many "missions of mercy" (changing direction on a family outing in order to help someone in need) and late-night phone calls helping recent immigrants resolve medical and legal problems.

Adam Díaz married Phyllis Amada (1916-1982) on March 30, 1935. The couple had four children, Mary Louise (1936-1975), Sally (Díaz) Feight (1937-), Olivia (1942-), and José (1949-). After Phyllis Díaz died, Adam Díaz married Frances [?]. Adam Díaz died on March 5, 2010 at the age of 100.

Scope and Content Note

This collection houses twenty-four images showing Adam Díaz and his family, including his parents and siblings, the home he grew up in, awards conferred upon him, and Díaz himself. Both digital images and proof sheets are available.


This collection consists of twenty-four images.


Access Restrictions

To view this collection, make an appointment at least five business days prior to your visit by contacting Ask an Archivist or calling (480) 965-4932. Appointments are available from Monday through Friday from 9-5, on a first come, first served basis, on the ASU Tempe or West campuses.


Arizona State University does not own copyright to this collection. Distinctive Collections recognizes that it is incumbent upon the researcher to procure permission to publish information from this collection from the owner of the copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Díaz, Adam (Adam Perez), 1909-2010.

Family Name(s)
Diaz family

Corporate Name(s)
Luhrs Properties (Firm).

Geographic Name(s)
Phoenix (Ariz.) -- History.

Mexican American politicians -- Arizona -- Phoenix.
Mexican Americans -- Arizona -- Phoenix.

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Adam Díaz and Díaz Family Photograph Collection, MP SPC 328.3. Arizona State University Library: Chicano Research Collection.


Frank Barrios donated these images to the Chicano/a Research Collection in 2006 (Accession #2006-03945).

Container List

1-2Early Díaz Family Photographs (3 Images)
3Document Certifying Adam Díaz's Election as a City of Phoenix Councilman, 1953 November
4-5Louie Hoffman (Age 86), Adam Díaz (Age 72), and George Luhrs Jr. (Age 86) at the Downtown YMCA in Phoenix, Arizona, 1981
Original image is part of the Luhrs Family Photograph Collection (CP LFPC 43).
6Portrait of Adam Díaz, circa 1920s
7Adam Díaz Walking
8Special Recognition of Excellence Presented to Adam Díaz by National Hispanic Heritage Month's Profiles of Success, 1994 September 1
9Adam Díaz, 1924-1925 (4 Photographs)
Adam Díaz with Car, circa 1920s
Adam Díaz Dressed for Work as an Elevator Operator at the Luhrs Building, 1925
Adam Díaz Dressed for Work as a Messenger Boy for Western Union, 1925
Adam Díaz in his Elevator Operator Uniform, 1924
10Adam and Phyllis Díaz with Group
11Adam Díaz with Group
12Adam Díaz, Aurora Díaz, Soledad (Palacios) Díaz, Samuel Díaz, and Virgil J. Díaz
13José Díaz
14Díaz Home and Family (3 Photographs)
Based on the construction, these images seem to show the Díaz family's home at 1230 E. Madison.
15Soledad Díaz
16Díaz Siblings
Based on the ages of the children in the photograph, this image most likely shows Adam, Moises, Samuel, and Virgil.
17Adam Díaz and Family (3 Photographs)
Unidentified Woman
Campaign Advertisement for Adam Díaz's Run for the Arizona State Senate in District 8-B
Adam, Phyllis, Mary Louise, Sally, Olivia, and José Díaz, 1954
18Certificate Recognizing Adam Díaz as an "Arizona Historymaker," , 1999 February 27
19Boxing Photographs, 1934, Undated (6 Photographs)
Includes Adam Díaz (1934), Everett Dixon, and two newspaper clippings describing Díaz's fights.
20Certificate Inducting Adam Díaz into the Hispanic Hall of Fame, 1994 September 1
21-22Resolution Issued by the Council of the City of Phoenix Expressing Appreciation for the Service of Adam Díaz, Frank G. Murphy, Margaret B. Kober, Newton Rosenzweig, and John F. Sullivan, 1956 January 3
23Adam and Phyllis Díaz
24Adam Díaz, 2004