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An Interview With Carlos F. Cortes
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Carlos F. Cortes
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded March 4, 1978. 2 sound cassettes (ca. 90 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape; 1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Has printed guide to contents.
NotesAt the time of the interview, Mr. Cortes was executive vice president of the Hoffman-Cortes Contracting Company. He was born in San Francisco, California in 1907. In the interview he discusses his early life, education, family, Great Depression, 1951 flood, construction business, etc.

Number 7 on MP3 disc.
Date1978-03-04
LocationSC69-1, Tape 8, CD 8
Local SubjectOral History
Construction Industry
Hispanic Americans
Minority Businesses
Cortes, Carlos F.
Hoffman-Cortes Construction Company
West Side
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of interview:

Mr. Carlos F. Cortes was born in San Francisco, California on July 1, 1907. His parents were: Carlos A. Cortes and Raime Blumm(?). He has six brothers and sisters. They lived in Martinez, California, small town with no minorities or bigotry, a mixture of nationalities with equal representation. His father was a Chief Construction Engineer. Martinez, California was his mother's family home, all settlers. His mother was partly Bohemi[c]an - partly Jewish; her people came to California during the gold rush. His father came from the South, Mexico.

Mr. Cortes went to grammar school in Mexico but returned to the U.S. when he was eleven years old. He went to a military school in Palo Alto, California. Education - Mr. Cortes attended the University of Nevada and won a football scholarship but he transferred to Berkeley when his father died and he had to take charge of his family. He worked part-time at Berkeley University Library and became very interested in Western history.

Depression Era. He met his wife in California at the University of California. They were married there and came to Kansas City. She was from this city. After a failure in the tire business, he went to work in the construction business for his father-in-law. His father-in-law needed men to build the Sedalia Army Air Base.

Hobbies - Western history winning towns. He travelled by motorcycle all over the state of Nevada. The Westport history of Kansas City attracted him also, as a western expansion movement of the Triaro from Mexico. He obtained his degree in philosophy with a minor in history and Spanish. Literacy and science are very important to him more than technology. Mr. Cortes is _____in Spanish and English.

Religion - He was brought up in the Catholic religion. The acceptance of one God. He believes in a personalized God with whom to speak together and he responds individually.

He belonged to a Fraternity in college, socially active and to different club groups. He was married in 1934. His tire business in Kansas City lasted two years then he went broke. It took him seven years to pay back all his debtors. His father-in-law's firm used to be "Hoffman-Morse Construction Company." The name was changed to "Hoffman-Cortes" fifteen years ago.

Depression - It was a difficult period of struggle for existence, but in Mr. Cortes' opinion it was a great builder of character that period of ______. There were only twenty-five ammendments to the Constitution, minor changes after the war. These changes were more of a clarification including the women's rights.

World War II - He was a Reservist Marine, but his commission had expired and at 35 years of age he was too old to be a Marine. Therefore he was not drafted. He thinks the war brought the country together to move scientifically to progress and economic gains from "have not" to "have". Foreign Investment: is good for the country. Railroads and banking has been foreign owned for many years and capitals have been reinvested because of the stability of our country.

The flood of 1951 - Lot of people were put out of business but on the other side it brought prosperity and better knowledge of hydrology and values -- control of water and food with water resources.

Major influence - The teaching of his father had to do a great deal with the trend value of water and soil; his Spanish culture, the precept that the only thing an individual has is his word. His mother gave him his intellectual desire for growth and inquisitiveness. From his father the Spanish values -- family oriented for our elderly to fulfill a function in our society, instead of grouping them. Mr. Cortes at 70 years of age is still in business. He will not retire because he thinks his experience will benefit others, and the need in our society for the elderly. Mr. Cortes does not like cemeteries, he wants cremation for himself. He believes man never dies; he still continues living as his ideas are projected in generations to come.

Mr. Cortes' wife is Florence Hoffman. They have been married forty-five years. They have two sons: Carlos, 44 years old and Gary, 38. Carlos, a Professor at the University of California in Riverside is a Chairman of Chicano studies. He is married to Carlota Madreigada. Gary H. Cortes is President of The Hoffman-Cortes Contracting Company, eight-million a year construction company. Both children are Eagle Scouts. Mr. Cortes has been an active member of the YMCA, training leaders for 35 years. He is active in Scouting, a member of the Real State Board, the Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and very close to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for all Spanish speaking members. He belongs to the Republican Party. He was Vice Chairman of this party for 6 years but resigned his position to give opportunity to younger men. He was a Delegate at the Republication Miami Convention in 1972 and in Kansas City, Missouri in 1976. Thirteen years ago he had a brain tumor and cancer of the throat but he is in good health now. He loves good food but he diets constantly.

Travel - he has been in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Panama, Costs Rica, Spain, Mexico and all the Scandinavian countries, etc. Time magazine featured Mr. Cortes for the life assumption "The Way of Selecting Candidates," "The American System is Great." How to Take Care of the Elderly -- Solving Problems, The Majority Rules, The Great American Constitution, best in the world. The article appeared in 1972. Discipline is the secret to success. Future plans - he will continue being the Chairman of the Board of his construction company but over the years he will turn his stock to his son. His company employs over 200 men. He will continue working his family history. Microfilms of his family history are now available at Salt Lake City Mormon Church Library -- "Know What You Are and Where You Come From" is more important than titles and your background.

Illegal Aliens - Mr. Cortes feels that Mexican American people as a group is being penalized for the eight million illegal aliens in this country who are uneducated "braceos." Therefore, the Mexican American feels responsible for them. Bilingualism will be a great help to solve the problem. Spanish language. In Spain, Spanish is a second language, first, (for the regions) will be Catalan, Galician, Bosque, etc. Gary Cortes, his son, teaches bilingualism all over the United States, but there is a lot to be done in this field.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210421
CONTENTdm number36380
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