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Arsenio Sanchez collection

Identifier: MS-2001-05
  • No requestable containers

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This collection contains Arsenio M. Sanchez's research files, including photographs and audio/video tapes, predominantly related to West Tampa, the Tampa cigar industry, biography, West Florida, and materials documenting his life and works.


  • Created: 1885-2005
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/2001


Conditions Governing Access

None. Copyright to Arsenio Sanchez’s publications is retained by Mary G. Sanchez. Rights to other copyrighted materials in the collection retained by relevant copyright holders.

Biographical or Historical Information

]The son of Spanish immigrants Bernardo and Francisca (Hernandez) Sanchez, Arsenio Modesto Sanchez was born February 24, 1916 in the Florida cigar-making community of West Tampa. Growing up in the bustling cigar city, Arsenio was immersed in the rich, multi-cultural ambience of its Spanish, Cuban and Italian immigrant population. Graduating from Plant High School in 1937, he trained at Brewster Vocational School, and then worked as a welder for the Tampa Shipbuilding Company. In 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in the navy’s Seabee construction battalions in Alaska and at Iwo Jima. Mustering out of the navy in 1945, he entered the University of Florida in Gainesville. He completed a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology in 1951, and shortly after graduation married West Tampa native Mary Greco. The couple remained in Gainesville, where Arsenio worked for several years as a research assistant in the university’s Sanitary Research Laboratory. In 1955, Arsenio became an inspector of fruits and vegetables for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a position he held for twenty-three years until his retirement in 1978. In 1982, he started a ten-year career with the West Tampa Convention Center. Sanchez wrote his first historical article, “Incentives Helped to Build West Tampa,” in 1985, and thereafter played an increasingly prominent role in local history activities. Arsenio served for six years on the Tampa Historical Society’s board of directors and was a frequent contributor to the society’s journal, the Sunland Tribune. He contributed articles to Tampa Bay History magazine, La Gaceta, and the Tampa Tribune as well. Arsenio played a major role in the initiative to place markers at historic sites in West Tampa, in the restoration of Tampa’s historic Oaklawn–St. Louis Cemetery, and in planning for West Tampa’s centennial celebration in 1995. A charter member of the Ybor City Museum Society, he was the organization’s official historian and served on its board of directors. Becoming interested in the history of early West Florida, in 1998 he published a book on the subject, West Florida: A Short History. In 2001, the Tampa Historical Society presented Arsenio with its D. B. McKay Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the study and preservation of Tampa’s historic heritage. Arsenio M. Sanchez died at age 89 on August 16, 2005. He was survived by his wife Mary, daughter Sharon, and two grandchildren. Froelich, Janis D. “Local historian documents details of West Tampa’s past.” Tampa Tribune, South Tampa Edition. March 31, 2001, p. 2. Guzzo, Paul. “Silhouettes: Arsenio Sanchez.” La Gaceta, June 22, 2001, p. 10. Maul, Derek. “A Living History: Arsenio Sanchez is a Compendium of West Tampa’s Past." West Tampa Shopper, June 2, 2004, p. 5. Sanchez, Arsenio M. Collection Sanchez, Arsenio M. "West Florida: A Short History." [S.l. : S.n.] 1998.

Note written by PEC, n.d.


9.11 Linear Feet

23 boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is divided into subject files, photographs, audio/video tapes, and oversize materials.  Files are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Source of Acquisition

Mary Sanchez

Method of Acquisition


Appraisal Information

Addtional materials donated by Mary Sanchez, July 2006.

Related Publications

Gedalius, Ellen. "He Told West Tampa Tales." August 19, 2005. Hawes, Leland. "A Seabee's Diary." The Tampa Tribune. November 18, 2001. Baylife 15.

Arsenio M. Sanchez collection
PEC, n.d.; Adams, K., 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USF Libraries - Special Collections Repository

4202 East Fowler Ave.
Tampa FL 33620-5400 US