David Robinson was born in Portland, Oregon. Although he had a law degree and started working first as a lawyer, he later served his community more prominently by working as an organization executive. From 1915 to 1917, he was a public defender, working to represent those whose cases came before Portland's municipal court. From 1918 to 1922, he was the director of the legal measures section in the U.S. Public Health Service. In 1938, he became the assistant national director for the Anti-Defamation League. In the middle of World War II, in 1943, he worked with the Rumor and Propaganda Division of the Oregon State Defense Council. In 1949, he served as the chairman of the Advisory Commission for the Oregon Fair Employment Practices Act. From 1949 to 1951, he was the president of Portland's Urban League. Around this time, he also served on public health committees and on the advisory board for the Salvation Army in Portland. He ended his professional life by serving as the President of the Board of Portland's Congregation Beth Israel, from 1954 to 1955.
The collection consists of Robinson's speeches, many of which reveal his interest in intergroup relations, anti-semitism, and war and peace; some files on the various organizations and individuals with which Robinson was associated, including Oregon's Americanism Coordinating Committee, the American Social Hygiene Association, the Salvation Army, Protestants and Others United for Separation of Church and State, B'nai B'rith (Seattle Lodge No. 503), Joseph Shemanski, Glen Archer, and John Metcalfe; and materials relating to Portland's Congregation Beth Israel in the 1950s. The Beth Israel materials include some committee files and files relating to Rabbi Julius Nodel (who became Beth Israel 's rabbi in 1950). Some of the Rabbi Nodel materials concern the controversy surrounding Nodel's sermons on Billy Graham and his article entitled "Did Christ Get a Fair Trial?"