Artemisa Urias was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1921. She worked as a cashier for Jacome Department Store and eventually moved to Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Rodolfo Urias. They married in Tucson and soon after Rodolfo left for Army duty. She always had a strong desire to learn languages and wanted to attend college to earn a degree in language arts. Living in Mexico gave her the opportunity to become fluent in Spanish as well as experience Mexican culture.